The results of a recent Google pay equity study showed that they are actually paying women more than men for the same work. So, they are now paying men one-time payouts to make up for this hardship.
The study, however, most likely did not show the real state of gender bias at Google.
About 91% of the Google employees were included in the study, and it compared the pay for men and women with similar jobs and at similar levels of experience. So, to correct their “gender bias”, they provided $9.7 million to pay an average of $908 to 10,667.
There was one large job category, what Googlers call Level 4 Software Engineer, in which women were paid more than men. Men in this category were given extra compensation to make reparations for the gender bias against them. It’s not clear how many of the 10,677 employees who were given extra adjustments were men from this category.
One large category where women got paid more than men was Level 4 Software Engineer. So, men in this category were given compensation to make reparations for the gender bias against them.
The question here is: is there really such little gender bias at Google, or is the tide really turning in favor of women?
And the answer is, expectedly, no. The Google study was too simplistic, and to show the real picture, it should also examine gender bias in a promotion and, most importantly, how they determine the employment level.
Former Google engineer Kelly Ellis filed a lawsuit which illustrates a huge problem with Google’s study.
Ellis had 4 years of experience when she was hired back in 2010, and she was hired as a Level 3 employee – the level usually assigned to recent college graduates. However, shortly after she joined the company, a man who also had four years of experience was hired on the same team, and he was made a Level 4 employee. Other men with similar or even lower qualifications than her were hired at Level 4, and they received a higher salary and were given more opportunities for bonuses and raises because they were assigned a higher level of employment.
Google’s study only compared Level 3 employees to other Level 3 employees, and Level 4s to Level 4s. So, if a woman assigned to Level 3 and is equally qualified to men assigned to Level 4, she will still get a lower salary, and Google’s current methodology thinks that that’s absolutely fine.
And yet another problem is that men can be more easily and quickly promoted than women, and this problem wouldn’t be captured in Google’s study.
And the last problem with their study are the performance ratings.
These ratings are subjective, so they are a subject to bias. Conscious or unconscious bias may cause men to get higher performance evaluations than their female peers, even if their performances are the same.
The harsh reality is that gender bias is not so easy to quantify. Luckily, though we believe Google has so many extremely talented employees that they will eventually figure it out.