Google wage equality study finds it underpaid some male engineers

Google wage equality study finds it underpaid some male engineers
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Google during its annual review of wage equality at the company found that it had been underpaying some male engineers in 2018. 

The company quickly corrected course, compensating the men equally to their female peers after the wage analysis identified the discrepancy.  

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"The 2018 analysis flagged one particularly large job code, Level 4 Software Engineer, for adjustments," Google wrote in a Monday blog post. "Within this job code, men were flagged for adjustments because they received less discretionary funds than women."

While men in that job category were paid equal salaries to women, the study found that managers were allotting more "discretionary funds" to female engineers.

The finding comes as Google continues to wrestle internally and externally with the issue of gender equality. The Department of Labor is still investigating claims that Google systematically underpays its female employees, which the tech giant has denied. 

Data compiled by Google employees in 2017 found that women were paid less than men at nearly every job level. Three former female Google employees filed a class-action lawsuit in September that year over alleged gender pay discrimination.

Critics of Google's latest finding have said it does not address the broader issue of pay inequality at the company. Google does not release public information about whether women are hired at lower pay levels than men with the same qualifications.  

"It is very disappointing that, instead of addressing the real gender pay inequities adverse to women, Google has decided to increase the compensation of 8,000 male software engineers,” Jim Finberg, the lawyer representing female employees in the class-action pay equity lawsuit, wrote in an email to Wired. “Come on, Google! It is time to do the right thing.”

Google in the post wrote that it is planning to conduct a "comprehensive review" of issues including "leveling," the process by which the company decides a new employee's pay level. 

"Our pay equity analysis ensures that compensation is fair for employees in the same job, at the same level, location and performance," Lauren Barbato, Google's lead analyst for pay equity, wrote in the post. "But we know that’s only part of the story. 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." 

Following the wage analysis, the company paid $9.7 million to more than 10,600 employees in an attempt to level the playing field, it said.