back to article Google recalculated its wages, and yup, raises for underpaid fellas. So can you forget those gender discrim claims?

Although Google has been repeatedly accused of unfairly paying men much more than women, during its latest salary review it instead found, surprise, surprise, actually a load of fellas were underpaid. Last year, amid allegations of gender discrimination in favor of blokes, the ad goliath's HR bods ran a series of algorithms to …

  1. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Lies, damned lies and statistics

    The algorithms are, apparently, equal across gender and race. Only employees working in a specific group that contains more than 30 people with at least five people per demographic group are considered by the system.

    I can see at least two ways in which that restriction could overlook discrimination, inadvertently or otherwise.

    1. Jamtea

      Re: Lies, damned lies and statistics

      Well... go on then?

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Well... go on then?

        Groups with less than 5 women in won't be considered.

        Groups with less than 30 people in won't be considered.

        That restriction sounds specifically tailored to exclude certain teams or groups. Can anyone think of a valid reason for it?

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: Well... go on then?

          "That restriction sounds specifically tailored to exclude certain teams or groups. Can anyone think of a valid reason for it?"

          Statistical analysis on small groups is pointless... but it might also be that 99% of their employees are in larger groups. It would be interesting to know how many people were excluded from the analysis based on the <30 or the <5...

          1. sabroni Silver badge

            Re: Statistical analysis on small groups is pointless...

            Google aren't a small group. Why would they divide up employees into small groups if they're trying to get company wide stats?

            1. jmch Silver badge

              Re: Statistical analysis on small groups is pointless...

              "Why would they divide up employees into small groups if they're trying to get company wide stats?"

              Presumably because it pays devs in California more than those in Bangalore, it pays techs working on core revenue-generating teams like Adwords more than first-line support etc etc. Averaging across all of Google makes no sense.

          2. jmch Silver badge

            Re: Well... go on then?

            "but it might also be that 99% of their employees are in larger groups. It would be interesting to know how many people were excluded from the analysis based on the <30 or the <5"

            It's right there in the article: "Some 91 per cent of staff were included in the analysis"

        2. Jon 37

          Re: Well... go on then?

          If there are 2 people in a group, and one of them is paid more... then what are you going to do? That may be discrimination (a woman and a man doing the same job for different pay), or it may just be that one is more senior / more experienced / better than the other.

          Similarly, if there are 30 people in a group and only one is female, you have the same problem - the woman may be more or less senior / experienced / good than the male average.

          If you have a "large enough" group, with a "large enough" number of women and a "large enough" number of men, and the average male level (seniority / experience / etc) is about the same as the average female level, then the average male pay should be the same as the average female pay.

          As far as excluding groups that are too small: If you run this on most of your workers that are in suitable groups, and it doesn't find major discrimination, you can probably assume that there's no major discrimination in the company, including the other workers that are in groups too small to check.

          (However, once people know that this will happen, that stops being true. Managers will know they can get away with discrimination against people who are already in small groups, and/or hide discriminated-against people in small groups. It is possible that changes their behaviour. People will always work for the metrics they're judged on. The first time this was done, people presumably didn't know it was going to happen, so it was a fair check).

          1. ExampleOne

            Re: Well... go on then?

            If you have a "large enough" group, with a "large enough" number of women and a "large enough" number of men, and the average male level (seniority / experience / etc) is about the same as the average female level, then the average male pay should be the same as the average female pay.

            There are a lot of qualifiers in that statement, so of which don't really match with my experience.

            My experience is that the average female in IT is actually better than the average male in IT, not because women are better IT (they may be) but because you get far more men in IT who don't really like it or just aren't that good. Women in this category, I assume, tend to not enter the field.

            What this saying about Googles salary review, I'm not sure. But it does suggest there is an industry wide endemic problem if the "gender pay gap" is not actually suggesting women out earn men. For an extreme example of this, look at the gender pay gap figures for the mining industry!

  2. naive

    Check out Jordan B. Peterson

    To understand why women are paid less.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Check out Jordan B. Peterson

      To get a good example of bad science.

      FTFY!

      Good handle though, appropriate!

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Check out Jordan B. Peterson

      The only thing anyone should ever check out Jordan Peterson for is to understand why he's so overrated by people readily impressed by endless streams of verbiage.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Check out Jordan B. Peterson

      I'm amazed at how many people find Peterson a threat, when pretty much all he espouses is common sense. Showing disdain against some one who promotes reasonable judgement pretty much proves a great many of his points.

      When challenged about what he says that's unreasonable, you're left with a fairly empty vessel, unless you count bizarre hit pieces the feed off each other, repeating the same old tired ad hominems and deliberate misrepresentations. Those same hit pieces just give him even more publicity and support.

      There's a fair bit of what he goes into that doesn't really interest me, or that I necessarily agree with. That doesn't mean you or I should close our minds, throwing the baby out with the bath water.

      1. cornetman

        Re: Check out Jordan B. Peterson

        I also am baffled by the sometimes vitriolic reaction to some of the things that Peterson has to say.

        Mostly, what I have heard him say is pretty reasonable, particularly his stance on the Canadian discrimination legislation with the compelled speech angle that he objects to.

        I read his book 12 Rules... which I was disappointed by. The rules themselves seem fairly sensible, but I found the bulk of the text unstructured, rambling and often nonsensical at times.

      2. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Check out Jordan B. Peterson

        Showing disdain against some one who promotes reasonable judgement pretty much proves a great many of his points.

        This assumes that his judgment is reasonable. If it is not reasonable, disdain is a rational response.

        So, where do you stand on this psychologist's attempt to justify hierarchies in human society by reference to the effect serotonin has on lobsters (creatures without a brain) and the effect serotonin has on humans (creatures with a brain and a vast array of concomitant societal influences)? I'll give you a clue: biologists have laughed.

        Also, lobsters piss through their face.

        1. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: Check out Jordan B. Peterson

          "So, where do you stand on this psychologist's attempt to JUSTIFY hierarchies in human society "

          You need to listen better. He doesn't JUSTIFY anything, he makes an observation. That observation is that most all animal kingdoms create hierarchies. Then he links that observation to the patently absurd claim apparently made by post-modernists, that hierarchies are a western, capitalist construction and that if we ditched capitalism (apparently in favour of socialism) it would all be honey and unicorns.

          Post-modernists and Marxists seem not to have observed that socialist societies rapidly develop hierarchies, and folk who benefit from those hierarchies literally kill folk who threaten their status in that hierarchy.

          But, ya know: it's all about lobsters, eh Rich?

          1. FrozenShamrock

            Re: Check out Jordan B. Peterson

            The Peoples Liberation Army in the early 70's was supposedly egalitarian, no ranks or hierarchy. However, there was a code based on the number and type of pens in one of the breast pockets of the uniform to make sure everyone knew the real hierarchy. There is and always will be hierarchies whenever there are groups. The question is how efficient they are; hopefully, the truly qualified rise to the top, not just well connected jerks. In bigger organizations there is probably some mix; but, the goal should be a hierarchy based on merit not irrelevant criteria such skin color, gender, religion, ethnic origin, etc.

          2. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: Check out Jordan B. Peterson

            But, ya know, it's all about post-modernists.

            Post-modernism can be as readily dismissed as can be Jungian psychology. There hasn't been any advance in post-modernism for 30 years. No new Derrida carrying the flag, nothing like that. I don't expect that Peterson holds much of a positive opinion about Jungian ideas, given its lack of a scientific basis. Both are dead in the water.

            So why does Peterson attack post-modernism? Because it's an easy target and it carries associations. He uses it as an inroad to undermine his perception of socialism, due to his pre-existing ideas on the subject (no wonder he's so popular with the alt-right). Just as in the way you've inserted Marxists alongside post-modernism; you might have failed to notice that one school significantly pre-dates the other and that neither is dependant upon the other. This is why I originally said that a person's consumption of Peterson's verbiage can give an insight into the way that person's mind works. I'd like to think that, what with him being a psychologist, Peterson would appreciate that.

            BTW, while I will happily state that my politics lean mostly leftwards I don't describe myself as a socialist, nor do I think anyone else with a reasonable understanding of the term could describe me as one either. I just say that so that no-one need bother with any replies beginning "Well your pre-existing ideas..." Because obviously I'd prefer replies which examine my id, ego and anima, or which deconstruct fundamental human perceptions of the universe, or which critique me on the basis of Marxist dialectic.

        2. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

          Re: Check out Jordan B. Peterson

          "Also, lobsters piss through their face"

          Oh, stop talking sh*t. ;^)

          I'll get me coat...

        3. cornetman

          Re: Check out Jordan B. Peterson

          > I'll give you a clue: biologists have laughed.

          Since biologists are not psychologists, I'm not sure I would trust their opinions on psychology.

          Last time I heard, Peterson's observations about lobsters were about trying to find a biological underpinning for the prevalance of hierarchies in the animal world. Most people seem to get hung up on the fact that we seem very different from lobsters, when in fact much of our biology is the same.

          I'm not sure that he is right, but it doesn't sound ludicrous on its face.

          1. Rich 11 Silver badge

            Re: Check out Jordan B. Peterson

            First, the biologists are commenting on the psychologist's interpretation of biology, not on psychology.

            Second, it is reasonable to accept that biologists probably wouldn't know as much about psychology as a psychologist.

            So why then give much credence to a psychologist's view on an aspect of biology? You compound this by saying much of our biology is the same, which is the exact point the biologists are laughing at. Mammals and crustacea do indeed both use serotonin, BUT FOR DIFFERENT THINGS!

            This is why Peterson is so laughable. He makes things sound not ludicrous on its face (to borrow your phrase) but all he is doing is falsely claiming a scientific basis for his own pre-existing prejudices and he's enjoying the fame and adulation it earns him from those of a similar mindset. Sadly he also sucks in others because he can sound so convincing.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm amazed at how many people find Peterson a threat

        Is that what you think? If people disagree with him it's because they're threatened by him.

        I think that says a bit more about you than it does about other people.....

  3. Mycho Silver badge

    $140,000 per year

    So... rich people are complaining that they're not rich enough?

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