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 …

  1. dom_f

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

    1. TheVogon Silver badge
      Trollface

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

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

      1. VIA_KT133

        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

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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?

  2. DougS Silver badge

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

    Than it would cost to actually do it.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      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!

      1. Pete 2

        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.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Chris G Silver badge

          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.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge
            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...

      3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. frank 3

          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!

      4. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        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.

  3. Dwarf Silver badge

    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.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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?

    1. JimC

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        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..

    2. P. Lee

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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?

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        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!

      4. Jeremy Puddleduck

        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.

        1. Adam 52 Silver badge

          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.

          1. Jeremy Puddleduck

            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.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      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")

    4. macjules Silver badge

      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.

  5. Lost In Clouds of Data
    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?

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    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?

    1. Captain DaFt

      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.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (.) (.)

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

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      ( ! )

      Are you sure of where you are talking from?

    2. Lost In Clouds of Data

      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.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        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.

        1. Lost In Clouds of Data

          Re: (.) (.)

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

          So, you where saying?

          1. HW de Haan

            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.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: (.) (.)

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

      3. Anonymous Coward
        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?

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        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.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. MD Rackham

      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.)

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    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

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

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

      They could perhaps bing it?

  10. Lo

    Google not for Girls....

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

  11. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Eguro
      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?

  12. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    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

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Esme

        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?

        1. TheTick

          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".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: My anecdote

            Why should we change it? I'm a woman fighting to be treated equally in a man's world. Our calls for flexible working and pay audits and childcare vouchers all benefit men - win win. So why should we have to deny the origins of our drive for everyone to be treated equally?

        2. inmypjs Silver badge

          Re: My anecdote

          "something that so many women hold dear"

          You mean the less than 1 in 10 in the UK that would describe themselves as feminists?

          I really don't care much about something so few women hold dear.

          1. Jeremy Puddleduck

            Re: My anecdote

            I'm going to take a punt here, but I'm going to guess you don't care much about women. am I right? Mmm?

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: My anecdote

        "Boys are behind girls AT EVERY STAGE OF EDUCATION."

        This is a growing trend. Perhaps a significant number of young males don't wanna be "indictronated" into no longer being male, so they find some high-testosterone career instead that doesn't require college...

        (i.e. they can't stomach the liberal indoctrination and mysandrony, and are EMBARASSED by the snowflakes, enough to want _OUT_)

        I'll get my coat now.

        1. Jeremy Puddleduck

          Re: My anecdote

          Well, Bob, I'd encourage them to go back to college. If only to work on their spelling.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My anecdote

        Bahboh,

        Any chance you may be going into any discussion with feminists (or women) with a tiny bit of an attitude that might help provoke the response you describe? I will, however, point out the same old point, repeated by feminists around the world - feminism does not mean man-hating. Why would we focus on something so negative and time-consuming when making our lot, and all people's lots, better? Most men are wonderful, we love them, love spending time with them, sometimes even enjoy working with them.

        And explain to me, what are you doing to correct any inequality of boys at school? Writing unpleasant messages on this forum by any chance?

        1. inmypjs Silver badge

          Re: My anecdote

          "I will, however, point out the same old point, repeated by feminists around the world - feminism does not mean man-hating."

          Yes we know they say that over and over and over and it doesn't matter how many times they say it, for a lot of them it is still a lie.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: My anecdote

            So statistically, how many feminists lie and hate men then? Just so I know? Any research been done on men-hating levels? Do you incorporate mild exasperation or just full on AK47 weilding?

  13. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Maternity leave...

    My daughter pointed out that as a dude I lack the experience to say whether the antidiscrimination juju works or not. Then I pointed out to her that I took six weeks of leave to hang out with her and her mum when she came out of the oven. When I returned to work, my office had been chopped into four cubes and invaded by an equal number of people Id never seen before. My few personal effects had gotten chucked into a cardboard box. While I still had a job I was figuratively 'homeless'

    My employer at the time is one of the world's largest employers, with a large pentagon-shaped HQ next to the Potomac River.

  14. Bloodbeastterror

    "Don't be evil"

    Isn't it funny how people can promise the earth, the moon and the stars and then when they get a bit of power manage to forget all that nonsense and get back to egocentric self-serving? I have this nagging feeling that something similar happened in the US recently - can't quite put my finger on it...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The gender pay gap is a myth

    Only morons dsagree with this.

    EOT

  16. scrubber

    Google are clearly lying. As they were when they said the WiFi slurp their maps cars were doing was an accident. Or when they said they deleted said data. Or any of the hundreds of illegal or unfair breaches of privacy they have done in the name of better service. Sorry, I meant making another buck. My android phone auto corrected that for me.

  17. Jim Birch

    Is there actually a reliable way to measure gender pay gap

    If everyone is making widgets doing a gender pay gap analysis is easy. It works well for bus drivers too.

    With artists or creative knowledge workers where everyone is doing different things for different money it's a fraught statistical process. Hard, or maybe impossible. Whatever the result, someone will claim it is wrong, maybe even with some justification. More likely, with varying combinations of ideological moral certainty and cluelessness.

    Google would crazy to institute this kind of lose-lose project. It would require arcane statistical methods that just about no one would trust. If an analysis showed they were gender neutral, they'd be accused of cooking the books before anyone had read the report. If it turned out they weren't gender fair, that result would be distrusted by others. Then, what are they supposed to do: inflate wages artificially or promote people with lower perceived competence, or what? There's a reasonable to good market for this type of employment. We aren't talking about a sweatshop in rural Pakistan.

    Personally, I'd want to see the reliable methodology appropriate to Google's workplace before we bang our dainty fists on tables and demand that they produce a bunch of meaningless numbers. "Everybody knows" doesn't cut it with me.

  18. Oengus

    Too easy

    Google,

    Give me your payroll data for the year, $500000 and one month. I will run your data through a tool I created to report to the WGEA (Workplace Gender Equality Agency) here which takes into account Part time/full time, Leave without pay/part pay, hire/fire date and other types of payment.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Too easy

      Does your algorithm take into account that two of the employees are the 12th and 13th richest people in the world? And that that might skew the distribution some what.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's easy...

    Pick a day, and log the mac addresses of all machines that connected to Instagram that day.

    Number of distinct mac addresses == number of women in organisation

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's easy...

      that would be funnier if I hadn't seen or run reports with completely irrelevant but technical sounding correlations, misinterpreted social theory, or completely disproven economic ideas used to weight or filter report results.

      Upvote because I hope you were being clever, and not one of my Directors in disguise. :)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it really so bad if men earn more then women?

    Against my better judgement and advice, my organisation has sometimes hired the occasional programmeresse - and here's what happens: Where as my developer dudes turn up on time in the same cargo pants, grey-white Ts and sneakers, the lady typists turn up - always late - in something different every day, purchased from those $8-for-a-skirt online purveyors of sweatshop tat. Every day, something frickin' different. They spend around 80% of the day on Instagram looking at photos of their equally vacuous friends and the other 20% gossiping about who said what to who and why. The only things these chicks know is employment law, so you can't even get rid of them for being crap. All you can hope for is pregnancy. And the dudes, they do all the work, until one of them gets busy with a female colleague, and the productivity goes to sh*t. Sorry, but women aren't suited to working, they waste all their money on handbags, clothes and lipstick, they drink coloured crap with umbrellas in, and they know nothing except empty phrases they pick up online, so why should we pay them as much as men? They get all they need from men anyhow.

    1. Jeremy Puddleduck

      Re: Is it really so bad if men earn more then women?

      Quite an incisive, evenly balanced summary there, AC. Shame your slight anti-women bias somehow manages to shine through.

      Now, where is my lipstick, phone and handbag to go and swing.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Women

    We already allowed them to drive cars!

    You give them a finger and they take an arm.

  23. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    funny thing about big data and reporting

    is that almost every report finds exactly what the entity requesting the report wanted.

    I suspect any reasonable set of queries, assuming all data people are demanding is actually recorded, would show that for any group, they will show "underpaid".

    Run it for women and it will "prove" they're underpaid.

    Run it for any minority, and I suspect the same rules will provide the same output.

    All those poor underpaid Indian DBAs.

    Hey, I bet we'd find most exploited H1B's in tech are *male*.

    so we'll filter and drill-down until we get the results that "satisfy" the recipient. Filter anyone with advanced degrees, filter anyone on a work visa, filter anyone who's been with the company less than a year. Filter out overtime pay, disciplinary or attendance issues, and anything the Union says is derogatory. Then take an average of pay from the owners of the company down to the kids in the mailroom, split by gender.

    Viola! Politically acceptable results Unlocked!

    (and that's pretty much how we do the major reporting by which Policy is generated here as well. If the results don't match the Politics, the report is rejected until it does. Any results that prove something politically dangerous, are "extraneous" and removed as to "not clutter" the charts and graphs. Perot would be proud.)

  24. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    So how it works

    W.C. Cogswell, a self identified binary man, who owns Cogswell Cogs, makes a million dollars a year.

    there are 10 women who make 100K

    there are 20 men who make 80K

    Average female pay for those 10 women: 100K.

    Average male pay for all 21 men in the company: 123K

    (rounded for simplicity)

    Result:

    "Oh look! Men make nearly 25% more than women!" or the Jezebel headline: "Women at Cogswell Cogs are forced to work more than an extra whole workday to make as much as men!"

    common sense tells you the men are not making more. But averages, well, can tell a different "truth" and be accurate, yet incorrect. So we filter.

    but we removed critical information didn't we? removing what we determine to be "outliers" actually drastically changes things. Especially when there are enough "outliers". We often get critical and "drill down" into the female statistic, but unless we do the same for both, well, we are once again borderline cherrypicking.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thinking about it

    Let's say Google have been discriminating. Doesn't that then scotch the mantra of "companies need to make sure they're diverse to be successful", considering how successful Google have been over the past decade.

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