Google officials, certain that they must be contributing to the gender pay inequality that is supposedly rampant throughout the high-tech world of Silicon Valley, recently conducted a study to figure out just how terrible the problem was. Eager to flagellate itself in front of their San Francisco peers and show the world that they were doing everything possible to correct the record, they ordered up the study, reviewed the results, and found that they were absolutely, 100% right. There was a massive disparity between the paychecks Google employees were taking home, and that disparity was right along gender lines.
As The New York Times put it: “Men were being paid less money than women for doing similar work.”
How about that.
And now we learn that making sure men and women are being paid the same for the same work…isn’t actually the goal…anymore? Hmm!
From the Times:
Google seems to be advancing a “flawed and incomplete sense of equality” by making sure men and women receive similar salaries for similar work, said Joelle Emerson, chief executive of Paradigm, a consulting company that advises companies on strategies for increasing diversity. That is not the same as addressing “equity,” she said, which would involve examining the structural hurdles that women face as engineers.
Google has denied paying women less, and the company agreed that compensation among similar job titles was not by itself a complete measure of equity. A more difficult issue to solve — one that critics say Google often mismanages for women — is a human resources concept called leveling. Are employees assigned to the appropriate pay grade for their qualifications?
The company said it was now trying to address the issue.
“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,” Lauren Barbato, Google’s lead analyst for pay equity, people analytics, wrote in a blog post made public on Monday.
So, two things.
One, when a study comes back showing that men at Google are getting ripped off in their paychecks, the problem is STILL that women aren’t being paid enough. That’s interesting enough on its own.
Two, apparently it is now Google’s responsibility to not only make sure that women are being paid commensurate to their skill and experience levels, but also that they are promoted to the right job for those considerations. Which, judging by what we’ve seen in the pay dispute, can only mean that Google will now throw promotions to women out like candy, resulting in a new study in which we find that Google men are vastly underemployed in relation to their qualifications.
At which point we will learn that neither “equality” nor “equity” is really the problem, it’s just that women are plain better at everything, and if we want to avoid these lectures in the future, we’ll just hand Google (and everything else) over to them and sit meekly in the corner, stewing in the rank smell of our own male privilege.