Each year Google completes an audit of its compensation and this year's instalment has resulted in it increasing the wages of more men than women.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on March 5, 2019

After completing the survey, Google increased the compensation for 10,677 employees by an extra US$9.7 million. After the previous survey, conducted in 2017, it had increased compensation by a total of US$270,000 for 228 employees.

The 2018 analysis found that one particular job code, Level 4 Software Engineer, should be adjusted to achieve pay equity. Men working within this job code received less discretionary funds than women, the analysis found.

The tech giant also undertook a new hire analysis to search for any discrepancies in compensation offers to new employees; 49% of the money spent on adjustments was for new hires.

Google staff have previously gone on strike over gender equality issues

Just last year, Google employees worldwide walked off the job to protest what they saw as a culture of gender inequality at the company and lenient handling of sexual assault and harassment complaints.

The protests came shortly after the publication of a New York Times report that alleged former Android CEO Andy Rubin had been given a US$90 million payout to smooth his exit from the company despite Google finding sexual abuse allegations against him were credible.

It is also being sued by three women who used to work there and who allege it systematically pays women less than men. Kelly M. Dermody, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, said “while Google has been an industry-leading tech innovator, its treatment of female employees has not entered the 21st century.”

Google had also been embroiled in controversy over gender equality at the company when former Engineer James Damore circulated a memo claiming pay differences along gender lines at the company were not solely due to bias, but to biological differences. He was sacked from the company and later filed a lawsuit against Google, arguing it discriminated against its employees for their political views, gender and being Caucasian.

Google has vowed to complete a “comprehensive review” in future

The company addressed the results of its salary review in a blog post by Lauren Barbato, Google’s Lead Analyst for Pay Equity, People Analytics. “Every year, each employee’s compensation is modeled algorithmically, based on work-related inputs like the market rate for their job, their location, level and performance rating,” the post begins. “If managers then want to apply discretion to adjust an employee’s modeled compensation, they must provide a clear rationale.”

Some at Google have acknowledged the study did not paint a complete picture of gender equality in terms of employment at the company, much less the technology industry as a whole. It focused on how much different people are paid for doing the same work and not on broader issues of who gets opportunities to advance within Google.

Barbato’s post said Google would seek to complete a more multifaceted analysis in future. “Because leveling, performance ratings, and promotion impact pay, this year, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of these processes to make sure the outcomes are fair and equitable for all employees,” she wrote.

“Our first step is a leveling equity analysis to assess how employees are leveled when they are hired, and whether we can improve how we level.

“This expanded review is the next step in our commitment to paying fairly. We’ll keep working to improve our practices and to .”

Header image credit: Nguyen Hung Vu