Google underpays men, not women, study finds
It's a "surprising trend," said Google's lead analyst for pay equity.
- The recent analysis was for 2018 and it was conducted by Google.
- The results show that, at least within one large group of software engineers, men received less discretionary funds than women.
- Google did not release pay information along racial lines or other categories.
Since 2012, Google has conducted an annual review to see whether different groups of employees are paid equally. You might expect the 2018 results to fall in line with the familiar gender pay-gap narrative – women systematically earn less than men – especially considering Google is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging the company does just that.
But that's not what the review found. It showed that – at least within one large group of software engineers – men are paid less than women. If that sounds like a "surprising trend" you "didn't expect," then you're in the same boat as Lauren Barbato, Google's lead analyst for pay equity.
In a blog post for Google, Barbato wrote that male Level 4 software engineers received less discretionary funds than their female colleagues who worked similar jobs in 2018. (Men, by the way, account for 69 percent of the company's workforce.) But she suggested the analysis only shows "part of the story" of pay structure at Google.
"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 wrote in a blog post, in which the term "leveling" refers to the pay grade to which employees are assigned.
Google plans to investigate whether some women are being hired at lower positions than their qualifications warrant, something for which the U.S. Department of Labor is currently investigating the company.
"Our first step is a leveling equity analysis to assess how employees are leveled when they are hired, and whether we can improve how we level."
Google responded to the results of the analysis by issuing $9.7 million in adjustments to 10,677 employees. If you interpret that payout as something of a correction to a gender pay-gap problem, you'd think that people who advocate for gender parity would be pleased with the news. But, again, that's not the case.
In an article from The New York Times, Joelle Emerson, chief executive of Paradigm, a company that helps companies develop diversity and inclusion strategies, said Google seems to be advancing a "flawed and incomplete sense of equality," and that striving for true equity would involve examining – and presumably destroying – structural obstacles faced by female engineers.
Some thought this criticism was hypocritical.
The gender pay gap at Google – at least within one pool of software engineers – doesn't seem to point in the direction that most people expected. But either way, it's not very stark. The adjustments, after all, amount to about $900 per employee, and most employees earn six-figure salaries.
So, perhaps the bigger question – one that some 8,300 current and former Google employees hope to find out in their class-action lawsuit – is whether the company systematically offers men more opportunities than women who have the same skills and qualifications. That's something an algorithm, like the one used to calculate the recent pay gap analysis, can't easily figure out.
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It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.
In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.
Image from the study.
As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.
Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.
"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.
It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.
Image by authors of the study.
Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.
The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.
“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."
Do you have a magnetic compass in your head?
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