Google says it’s important to pay employees based on what they deserve, not based on who they are. But as decades of employment data demonstrate, that just doesn’t happen, even at places that regard themselves as exceptionally meritocratic, like Google. To try to fix pay imbalances, for the past seven years Google has conducted what it calls an “annual pay equity analysis” in which the company examines the compensation of workers in various job groups and corrects any significant gaps across race and gender. On Monday, it shared a small handful of results from its 2018 analysis.
You probably heard about one shocking finding. In one job category (“Level 4 Software Engineers”), Google says it actually found it was underpaying men—a shortfall it then corrected by issuing raises to thousands of men across the company. Overall, pay bumps resulting from the analysis added up to $9.7 million for more than 10,600 employees, though the company didn’t say how many of those employees were men. But James Finberg, a lawyer for a class-action lawsuit filed against Google for underpaying women, told Wired that the compensation adjustment was granted to some 8,000 male engineers. Wired reports that the discrepancy resulted from managers allocating more of their discretionary budget to women. Google reportedly decided to share this particular detail from the report because it was “counterintuitive.”