Google's annual pay equity study, designed to expose gender and racial pay gaps within the company before they happen, found that male engineers were paid less than women for doing similar jobs. So it gave raises to thousands of men for 2019.
In all, Google gave $9.7 million in additional compensation to 10,677 employees, according to a blog post released Monday. It was not immediately clear how many of them were men. In 2018, Google spent about $270,000 to adjust salaries for 288 employees. In both cases, the amount averages to a little over $900 per employee. Google's workforce is 69 percent male.
The news comes at a time when the tech giant is fighting both a class action lawsuit and an investigation from the U.S. Department of Labor, which both allege underpayment of its female employees. Google has strongly denied the allegations. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
Google's pay structure is based on an employee's role, level, location, and performance. Managers can also bump up an employee's salary if they see fit, provided they have a "clear rationale" for doing so, Laura Barbato, Google's lead analyst for pay equity, wrote in the blog post. Men were found to receive less discretionary funds than women in the level 4 software engineer position, a lower level engineer job title. In the blog post, Google did not explain why managers deemed necessary to provide the extra funds to women.
Among other skeptics of Google's findings is, Joelle Emerson, CEO of Paradigm, a San Francisco-based consulting company that advises businesses on how to increase diversity. She tells the New York Times that Google's findings are "flawed." The study does not include whether more women are hired to lower level positions than men with similar qualifications, a process known as "leveling." In other words, women with higher qualifications might end up in lower-level roles than male peers. Adjusting pay to make sure men and women doing similar jobs earn the same salary advances an "incomplete sense of equality," Emerson says.
Google seems aware that its findings are less than perfect. Barbato notes in the blog post that the company will undergo additional pay reviews.. "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." She added that Google will start by evaluating how it assesses new hires' seniority level first.