Google defends pay policy after US labour department accuses it of underpaying women

A vice president at Google said that the annual analysis of pay data is 'extremely scientific and robust'

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The Independent Online

Google has staunchly defending its compensation policy, saying that it is “blind” to gender, after the US Department of Labor accused the internet giant of not paying women the same as men.

In a blog published on the company’s website, Eileen Naughton, vice president for people and operations at Google, said that the company was “surprised” when a representative of the Department of Labor earlier this week accused Google of not compensating women fairly.  

“We were taken aback by this assertion, which came without any supporting data or methodology,” she said. She added that Google’s annual analysis of pay data is “extremely scientific and robust”.

Ms Naughton said that each year, Google suggests an amount for every employee’s new compensation, which is made up of base salary, bonus and any equity, which is based on role, seniority, location and current and recent performance ratings.

She said that the suggestion is “blind” to gender meaning that the analysts who calculate proposed amounts do not have access to employees’ gender data.

“An employee’s manager has limited discretion to adjust the suggested amount, providing they cite a legitimate adjustment rationale,” she added.

When a total pay is established, Google uses a model that looks at employees in the same job categories, and analyses their compensation to confirm that the adjusted amount shows no statistically significant differences between men’s and women’s compensation, according to Ms Naughton.

Google in late 2016 performed an analysis across 52 different, major job categories within the organisation and found no gender pay gap, she said.

“Nevertheless, if individual employees are concerned, or think there are unique factors at play, or want a more individualised assessment, we dive deeper and make any appropriate corrections.”

According to Google’s most recent diversity report, 31 per cent of all its employees are women but only 19 per cent of tech roles are held by females. Women hold 47 per cent of all non-tech roles and 24 per cent of all leadership positions.

Overall, 59 per cent of the workforce is white, with 32 per cent Asian and only 3 per cent Hispanic or black. White employees hold 70 per cent of all leadership positions.