Google study finds it underpaid men in certain jobs as it addresses gender wage gap

A study conducted by Google found some male employees were underpaid while doing similar work to their female colleagues. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

A study conducted by Google to determine whether it was underpaying women and minorities found it was actually paying some men less than women for doing similar work, a change from the common gender gap narrative.

The findings applied mostly to level 4 software engineers, according to a Google internal pay audit. To close the wage gap, the company disbursed almost $10 million to over 10,000 employees. It did not say how many of those who received payment were men in a statement to Fox News.

“Our pay equity analysis ensures that compensation is fair for employees in the same job, at the same level, location and performance,” Google Lead Analyst for Pay Equity and People Analytics Lauren Barbato wrote in a blog 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.”

Google uses an algorithm to set an employee’s salary using factors like performance, location and the type of job, along with other factors.


The annual study comes as Google and other Silicon Valley companies face pressure over gender pay, wage discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. Google is fighting a class-action lawsuit filed by women alleging underpayment and a Department of Labor investigation. The tech giant has denied paying women less.

Critics of the study said the results could give a false impression, the New York Times reported.  The company maybe advancing a “flawed and incomplete sense of equality” by making sure men and women receive equal pay for the same work but that it’s not the same as addressing the structural hurdles women faces as engineers, said Joelle Emerson, chief executive of Paradigm, a consulting company that advises companies on strategies for increasing diversity.

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