A new analysis of pay data at Google once again demonstrates a gender wage gap at the company.
Nearly 1,200 Google staff members in the United States — roughly 2 percent of the company’s global workforce — reported their salaries and bonuses in an employee-generated spreadsheet. The data, obtained by The New York Times, illustrates disparities in pay at varying levels.
Google Employee Salary Data
Source: NY Times
At level one, women make less than three-quarters of what men earn. The only exception in the data provided is at level two, where the men who self-reported earn 93 percent of what the women earn.
Google Employee Bonus Data
Source: NY Times
Women earned slightly higher bonuses at levels three and four, but the difference is not nearly as significant when compared to how much more the men received in bonuses at the other levels.
Google has never applied to compete in the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity competition.
Women make up 31 percent of Google’s total employees but only occupy 20 percent of tech roles and a quarter of leadership positions. Women of color represent even less of the company, as Blacks and Hispanics comprise just 2 and 4 percent, respectively, of Google’s total workforce. Hispanics and Blacks represent 3 and 1 percent, respectively, of Google’s tech workers. For leadership jobs, Hispanics and Blacks each represent 2 percent. Among the DiversityInc Top 50, women represent 46.3 percent of the whole workforce and 32.7 percent of senior management, and Blacks, Latinos and Asians make up 15.6 percent of senior managers.
The proposal was voted down for the second year in a row.
Alphabet’s (Google’s parent company) board of directors is about one quarter female. One of the four women on the 15-member board is Shirley Tilghman, former president of Princeton University. While working at Princeton, Tilghman hired Maria Klawe, who now serves as president of Harvey Mudd College, as a dean. When discussing salary, Klawe told Tilghman, “Just pay me what you think is right” — and then grossly underpaid her compared to the other deans.
The data collection for Google reflects 2017 pay data, but the spreadsheet was started in 2015 by former Google employee Erica Baker, reported USA Today, which also viewed the spreadsheet.
According to a former Google employee who reported information to Quora, levels one through three are considered entry-level, levels four through five are mid-career and level six is late career. Managerial roles begin at level four. The employee spreadsheet therefore does not account for senior-level positions, which begin at level seven.
A spokeswoman for the company described the data as “extremely flawed” in a statement to Business Insider.
“The analysis in this story is extremely flawed, as it features an extremely small sample size, and doesn’t include location, role, tenure or performance,” said Gina Scigliano. “This means that the story is comparing the compensation of, for example, a high-performing Level 5 engineer in the Bay Area with a low-performing Level 5 non-technical employee working in a different location. It doesn’t make sense to compare the compensation of these two people. We do rigorous compensation analyses and when you compare like-for-like, women are paid 99.7 percent of what men are paid at Google.”
Even salaries for positions at the same level can vary for a number of reasons. A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) points out that factors such as experience and geographic location can largely impact salaries for similar jobs, resulting in significant differences depending on the industry.
According to the Times, human resources employees at Google do not know a person’s gender when determining salary. “Similarly, when an employee’s salary is up for annual review, the company takes into account the person’s job performance, location and competitive salaries — but the analysts are not informed of the person’s gender,” the Times also reported.
But the employee-generated spreadsheet is hardly Google’s first strike when it comes to questions about wage data — and a company culture that is inclusive for both men and women.
The discrimination “is quite extreme,” even for a tech company, according to a report published last week.
In April the Labor Department accused Google of “systemic” gender pay discrimination and demanded the company provide more data about its wage practices. The company said the task, which would require about 500 work hours and $100,000, would be too expensive (despite Alphabet’s self-reported financial growth: Ruth Porat, Alphabet’s chief financial officer, said in June of the company’s Q2 earnings, “With revenues of $26 billion, up 21% versus the second quarter of 2016 and 23% on a constant currency basis, we’re delivering strong growth with great underlying momentum, while continuing to make focused investments in new revenue streams”).
The excuse comes despite the company’s previous claim that it had already calculated this data — on a global scale.
And, as noted by Bustle, the data illustrates the importance of transparency and keeping a conversation about salaries alive: “Yet what this data set does demonstrate on a broader scale is 1) how easy it is to share salary information in the interest of more equitable pay, and 2) why that kind of initiative is so important.”
Company culture also largely came into question when a 10-page misogynist memo penned by a Google engineer slamming diversity and suggesting women are inferior as leaders was released.
Top leaders at the company demonstrated their own worst practices by hiding behind a statement from their brand new head of diversity, who has only been on the job for a couple of weeks.
To read James Damore’s full memo click here.
The engineer was ultimately fired. But the note was not immediately rebuked by Google’s CEO, the company’s head of human resources or the chairman of the board. Rather, Danielle Brown, the company’s brand new vice president of diversity, integrity and governance, was initially forced to speak out about the incident.