A report in the New York Times is likely to put the HR practices of Google under intense scrutiny as it alleges that female employees are paid less than their male counterparts.

The report is based on data compiled by employees. The data contains details of salary and bonus for 2017 that were shared by about 1,200 employees based in the US.
This number, according to the report, constitutes about 2 percent of the company’s global work force.

Google has said that the data does not portray the correct picture as it does not account for location; whether an employee is in a technical position, which commands a premium; and performance.

This defence is unlikely to save the company from scrutiny by various gender equality advocates and activists, shareholders, investors and people in general.

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The diversity dividend

What may go against Google is that the company is generally perceived as one of the best places to work globally. Hence, critics could wave the NYT report to highlight this and other shortcomings, however minute, at the Mountain View, California headquartered company.

This case is a good example of the perils of being in the spotlight constantly. Google has been reporting very good financials and has been growing consistently.
And, with around 60,000 employees worldwide, pay gaps would be inevitable.

The company is quite likely to pay an employee posted at Mountain View more than one in the same rank posted in India, where the cost of living is relatively cheaper.

Google HeadquartersAccording to Google’s annual diversity report, women constitute 31% of its work force and 20% of its technical positions are filled by women.

It must be mentioned that, in tech companies, people in technical positions draw higher pay than in say marketing or HR. But disparity in pay for the same position is another thing. Add gender into this equation, and the issue gets even bigger.

In fact, the US Labor Department has been seeking data from the company in this regard. The company went to court complaining that the Labor Department is asking for more data than necessary.

The NYT report could aggravate this confrontation.

There is a bit of irony here. Millions of companies get away with pay disparities but a company that is perceived as a good place to work faces intense scrutiny.
Perhaps, the battles in lesser known companies are not publicised as much as the one at Google.

The NYT article is definitely getting a lot of traction and comments on the Internet, social media and in tech circles.