back to article Google can't spare 113 seconds of revenue to compile data on its gender pay gap

After failing in April to shut down reporting of its lawsuit with the United States Department of Labor, Google's told the US court looking into alleged pay discrimination it would be too expensive to find out whether women are underpaid at the advertising behemoth. How much is too expensive? US$100,000, Google told the court …

So it'll cost $100k but it has already spent $500k. Something wrong with these numbers...

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Trollface

"How much is too expensive? US$100,000"

Perhaps it would cost less if they got women to do it?

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Anonymous Coward

So it'll cost $100k but it has already spent $500k. Something wrong with these numbers...

That's what you get when you involve the department that has to calculate how much tax they owe. Makes you really trust their algorithms, doesn't it?

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That is just so poetic :)

On-topic, it has been a long time since I threw Google on the pile of JAA, Just Another A$$h0le

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They're probably spending more for their lawyers to argue against it

Than it would cost to actually do it.

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Re: They're probably spending more for their lawyers to argue against it

Your thinking about it the wrong way around.

Their lawyers are arguing against it because they KNOW they arent meeting the equal pay regulations, which they KNOW would open them up to huge discrimination claims from employees, ex-employees, state regulators, federal regulators, etc, etc.

How do they KNOW all this? Because obviously they've already compiled the data, analysed it, and determined "Oh bugger we havent been meeting the requirements after all."

Rather then putting their hand up and saying "Our bad, lets see if we cant even this up for everyone." they've decided to bring in the lawyers. Personally, I hope this does go all the way to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court kicks Google's ass from here to Timbuktu!

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The actuarial solution

And they have probably factored in the cost of the settlement AND the cost of the punitive damages and fines.

After that they calculate the lawyers fees and the odds of winning and take a gambler's decision that the chances of not having to pay (hey, we're GOOGLE, we're too big for your puny fines) are worth the risk.

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Re: They're probably spending more for their lawyers to argue against it

"It is maybe the most liberal company in existence. Openly so."

AC you're male and you work at Google, Right?

I have'nt noticed Google being too liberal in its attitude to tax paying.

Also curious to know what the rate is that they are paying Lisa the Lawyer.

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Re: They're probably spending more for their lawyers to argue against it

Personally, I hope this does go all the way to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court kicks Google's ass from here to Timbuktu!

Not going to happen, which is the exact reason why Google want to go that far. The orange guy at the top loves big business, remember? He's not going to allow something as trivial as any law to protect peasants to interfere with profits, and he's already put his man up there.

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Re: They're probably spending more for their lawyers to argue against it

Thanks for using the term SJW.

Only the extreme right wing use that term, so I was able to ignore your comment and skip straight to the next. A handy time saving!

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Trollface

Re: They're probably spending more for their lawyers to argue against it

"It is maybe the most liberal company in existence. Openly so."

That explains the delay then. They are still discussing where to put the "non binary" employees...

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Should investigate using the cloud

Perhaps if Google are admitting that their analytics platform isn't up to it, they could investigate using AWS,

It should only take an hour or two and will work out far less than the numbers they are banding around.

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Anonymous Coward

Bullshit

Fuck sake google. You're a tech company. Your the planets most advanced tech company. Find an intern to run "select gender,avg(pay_rate) from employees group by gender" and quit the transparently prevaricating bullshit. Don't be evil, remember?

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Re: Bullshit

Far be it from me to defend Google, who frankly deserve everything they get for their arrogance, but I bet its more complicated than that. Quite a lot more complicated than that. Traditionally there have been all sorts of ways in which pay inequalities have been inadvertently or even deliberately hidden, and there really is a bit more to doing the sums properly than your suggestion.

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Re: Bullshit

Diversity reporting is a no-win scenario.

There are plenty of good reasons why the resulting figure calculated as an average seems to imply something it doesn't.

e.g.

a) many women like flexible jobs with lower hours because they actually care about their families

b) In general, flexible jobs are in lower-paying job categories

c) women often take a career break to have families, which means they don't climb the corporate ladder to the higher-paying posts

Even if you do the break-down and show you aren't discriminating, someone will summarise it to make you look bad and create a story out of nothing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bullshit

I call bull on your your total shit:

a) many women like flexible jobs with lower hours because they actually care about their families

Shite; many of us are eager to climb to corporate ladder and have partners who want to take the burden of looking after the kids. Get your head out the 1950's because it's smelling awful.

b) In general, flexible jobs are in lower-paying job categories

Shite; see above. Flexible post childbirth shouldn't be any different from other sabbaticals.

c) women often take a career break to have families, which means they don't climb the corporate ladder to the higher-paying posts

Shite; See above. Why should be be penalized just for taking 3 months off after childbirth? I've seen many men take similar time off for such things, or for other reasons entirely. Don't see men being penalized for that.

Your post is oh so typical from men who don't have the ability to carry a child. We do, so now you want to punish us for that.

The only day this will all be straightened out is when men can carry children - then we'll suddenly see the rules change because we can't have men suffering, can we?

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Anonymous Coward

I could understand that education or other parts of society could have a training and qualification discrimination. This would mean Google would only be able to staff with a gender discriminating employees.

However, there are ways around this. Perhaps asking if they should go along with the discrimination just because it's easier than training people in house, and employing regardless of gender etc.

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Devil

Re: Bullshit

Find an intern to run "select gender,avg(pay_rate) from employees group by gender"

it may not be that easy of a query, considering how 'gender' is defined these days...

Actually I doubt google would deliberately pay women LESS. It may be MORE, though...

(and this is probably JUST a dept of labor "shakedown")

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bullshit

a) many women like flexible jobs with lower hours because they actually care about their families

b) In general, flexible jobs are in lower-paying job categories

c) women often take a career break to have families, which means they don't climb the corporate ladder to the higher-paying posts

Wait, did you actually just suggest these are legitimate ways to discriminate?? I think I see the problem!

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Re: Bullshit

Would that it was so simple. You need to average the pay gap on a strata basis starting from interns up to VP level.

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Re: Bullshit

I bet its more complicated than that. Quite a lot more complicated than that.

Then you take a stab at it and draw a baseline that you can then improve upon - that way you can even claim you're laying the foundation for a new, fair evaluation. The only problem that would prevent you from doing that is, of course, if you already know full well that you'll make it rather clear you're in the wrong, so I reckon that is what is really in play here..

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Re: Bullshit

Oh P. Lee, you sound lovely, really lovely. I bet the women are flocking to spend time in your company.

a) I'd take a bet that almost all women care about their families and whether they work or not does not affect that. Men with families to care for mainly go to work - are you...suggesting they don't care for their families? Women go to work for many reasons - because they want to, enjoy work, want to help support their families, the same sort of reasons as men.

b) while I think that is true, it shouldn't be. Why should a part-time job earn less per hour than a full time job when the nature of the job is the same? Part-time employees (and a growing number of these are now men, so you may want to start showing a little more concern about this) are no less committed to the time they spend at work then full-time employees.

c) Women often don't climb the career ladders to the same height as men, whether they take career breaks or not.

Why so defensive about getting a pay analysis done? It can benefit everyone if the stats are more transparent, men and women. Celebrate the opportunity instead of trying to hush us up.

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Re: Bullshit

"Oh P. Lee, you sound lovely, really lovely. I bet the women are flocking to spend time in your company."

Personal attacks just make your argument look weak.

"Why should a part-time job earn less per hour than a full time job"

Employment entails fixed costs; training, HR, recruitment and per-seat software licences, for example. That makes part-time workers more expensive.

Pay rates, where there are pay scales, assume a level of competency that comes with experience and averaged out over a standard period, for example when you pay a 2nd year worker more than a 1st year. A part-time worker will inevitably be less experienced, everything else being equal, and that will cap total career earnings dramatically.

"Women often don't climb the career ladders to the same height as men"

Any evidence of that? Evidence that doesn't extrapolate over two generations and assume social attitudes remain unchanged for the whole period and excludes external influences.

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Re: Bullshit

"Oh P. Lee, you sound lovely, really lovely. I bet the women are flocking to spend time in your company."

"Personal attacks just make your argument look weak."

Oh Adam, Adam, Adam, something about you makes me thing I don't care what you think of my compliment of P. Lee. He implied women who work don't care about their families. Did you have a little word with him as well? No, strange that, wonder why. Men of course love their families no matter what they do because they are...MEN!

And as for the rest of your rationalisation of why it's okay to pay part-time workers less per hour than full time workers, good luck with that. You're in denial, particularly if you cannot accept women don't climb career ladders to the same height as men. But, still, I'm sure it's lovely in your little (presumably women-free) bubble.

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Paris Hilton

So let me get this straight

It can offer $300,000 each to the losers of it's recent AlphaGo contest, but not a penny to ensure its record keeping is accurate.

Makes sense, sure it does.

Paris running the show?

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Of course Google can do it

but they don't want to. Perhaps it might prove a tad embarasing.

Other Tech Companies can do this and do it every year so why can't google? Don't they have the mother of all AI systems that apparently holds all the data in the world on each and every one of us.

Or isn't it the best thing since sliced bread that they claim it to be?

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Re: Of course Google can do it

"Don't they [Google] have the mother of all AI systems that apparently holds all the data in the world on each and every one of us."

Well they tried to use it, several times, but all the answers came back looking like:

"Walter Pomp, current employee at Google, You can hire Walter Pomp to work at Google by clicking {Here}.

Companies that hired Walter Pomp also hired Matta Kahn, Bob Sherry, Teresa Braks, and more! Click {here]"

Not really that much help.

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Anonymous Coward

(.) (.)

They're worried about making public the fact that most women in IT are now paid more than men.

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( ! )

Are you sure of where you are talking from?

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Re: (.) (.)

Obviously you posted as an AC because you know that response was total bullshit and you wanted to espouse your bigotry without revealing your screen name.

Asshat.

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Re: (.) (.)

I'd not be entirely sure it's bullshit. Recent research in the Netherlands has shown that the supposed pay gap in here is nearly non existent in general when compensating for experience, age, hours worked, etc and in certain demographics (mostly young higher educated) women ARE actually getting paid more.

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Re: (.) (.)

Bully for you. Let's try a larger populated country, like, oh, I dunno, the US perhaps.

So, you where saying?

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Re: (.) (.)

Ever thought that the comment was supposed to get that sort of reaction and that it might not have been a bigotted comment?

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Re: (.) (.)

Yes, let's try that, let's put as many people per square mile as the Netherlands has in the USA and see what happens to the employment- and wage figures overthere. I think you're in for a rather nasty surprise.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: (.) (.)

Obviously you posted as an AC...

@Lost - what gender did you assume I was when you went off on one like that? You think us girls need a bit of protection, then?

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Devil

Re: (.) (.)

Obviously you posted as an AC because you know that response was total bullshit and you wanted to espouse your bigotry without revealing your screen name.

I though it was prettty funny. Thanks, AC, for saying what at least a number of us were thinking already.

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Anonymous Coward

An easier way to get out of it would be to say google is a non-gender specific company and erase all the records of gender they hold.

Can't comply if you don't have the data.

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Complicated by the fact that those juicy government contracts that Google has contractually obligates them to keep such data. And to make it available to auditors.

I (briefly) consulted for a company that thought those federal contract details were just "boilerplate" and could be ignored. When the feds were done with the audits and started assessing penalties and yanking contracts, the company was shut down as it was suddenly bankrupt. Oops.

(Of course the CEO was a libertarian asshole (but I repeat myself) who didn't think any rules should apply to him.)

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Sorry Dave, I can't do that for you

There is a certain irony that the premier search giant claims it cannot find these data quickly

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Happy

Re: Sorry Dave, I can't do that for you

They could perhaps bing it?

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Lo

Google not for Girls....

If they are afraid of their stats revealed then we know as much.

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Facepalm

Re: S to the izz-J to the doppelt-V

Presumably whether employees are being discriminated against (in terms of pay) on a basis of gender is what the US Dept. of Labor is trying to find out - no?

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What the hell, I will wade into this morass. Big caveat- I'm an engineer, not an IT guy and what I say applies only to the infinitesimally small sliver if the USA's engineering field I've played in:

(1) At present my perception is that there are more female than male engineering students. Note: I'm talking about the small subset who are US citizens - the only flavor I can hire.

(2) The women tend to interview far better; a lot of the males have some sort of weird video-game-derived socio-alco-psycho-logical strangeness that makes me want to airgap my projects from them.

(3) from (2) our junior staff is actually about evenly matched or slightly biased towards the female side; starting salaries for the women are definitely higher.

(4) At the ten year mark we have few women left. First, we - meaning every org Ive worked in - treats women like crap. Less educational opportunities... Nastier interpersonal interactions... they get screwed in tetms of advancement for at least a year after taking materbity leave... etc.

Two types survive: super stars who would perform well no matter what you do to them, and on the other end of the bell curve sociopathic bitches who are able to rise with extraordinary speed because of worthless male managers who think only with their dicks. Not that the sociopaths ACTUALLY put out, but these guys are really, really stupid

(5) Our female super stars do not mix well with the average dickhead (literal and metaphorical) line and personnel managers. They tend to stay technical and become recognized experts and technical leaders. Sociopathic women in the line management feel threatened by the smarter ones in the tech leadership side and will do VERY nasty things to keep 'em down. Supported of course by our sexually frustrated suits being stroked (by God I hope not physically) by the sociopaths

(6) Our best and brightest women get sick of the crap and leave. Average salaries then, in spite of an initial good trend, definitely look strange. Simple discrimination though does not adequately demonstrate the totality of dysfunction

(7) maternity leave? Theoretically it doesnt hurt your career. In practice? Cant say its ever helped.

What organization - and Id assume Google is similar to mine - really wants introspection into its inner workings?

-BC

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Re: My anecdote

@Bahboh - feminism isn't man-hating. Feminism is about trying to make the world more equal for all. (And for those thinking the usual question, It's called 'feminism' because of where it started, in a world where women were legaly chattels, and is still called that because the world (ie: all of the countries, not just yours or mine), as a whole, still tends to treat women less well than men (and even in the country I live in, women still tend to be paid less well than men for the same jobs, on average,according to overnment figures, whilst we're on the subject of pay).

Boys are behind girls at every stage in education now, where you live? Ok, that's a datum that needs to be worked on, and we - us feminists - are all behind doing something about that, but take a look at history, take a look at large chunks of the world right now and see how many women are being denied an education at all.

Cherry-picking one datum that shows an inequality in how well males and females are doing in favour of women - in the country that you live in - doesn't invalidate feminism, as I am sure you're quite intelligent enough to realise.

And if we're talking about equality, why should it be down to just us women to fix the problem of boys under-achieving? Don't men have a stake in doing that as well, or are you denying all respondibility for the upbringing of young males? Are you being a good role-model for them, demonstrating what the benefits of a good education and socially responsible behaviour are?

I'd also urge those critical of feminism to read up on the subject, find out why it has been such an inspiring idea for so many women. Yep, feminism has had (and still does) its share of extremists and weirdos who don't seem to be in quite the same reality as the rest of us, as does every political movement. And it has its share of the inarticulate who feel frustrated that they can't explain well how they feel about it all and that may resort inadvisedly to just yelling and swearing at those who don;t share their view. But it's just as wrong to tar all feminists with the same brush due to inappropriate or even self-defeating actions of a few as it is to tar the members of any group with the same brush for the aberrant actions of a few.

Thankfully, most men I know are thoughtful types, so no, I am not a man-hater, and nor are the vast majority of feminists, who are, believe it or not, heterosexual. But its irksome that the anti-feminists (of whatever gender) trot out the same old bullshit arguments year on year as if with one simple statement they can render feminism valueless. If you're amongst them, then think on this - if you're so dismissive of something that so many women hold dear, then might you, perhaps, be part of the problem?

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Re: My anecdote

"Feminism is about trying to make the world more equal for all."

If that truly is your goal (in terms of equal opportunity rather than equal outcome of course) then perhaps it's time to start calling yourselves "Equalists" and practice "Equalism".

One might almost call it "Individual Rights".

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