GOOD

Former Employee Highlighted Pay Inequality at Google by Publishing Company Salaries

How one woman investigated painful disparities inside the enormous company—all with a simple document.

A google nap pod. image via Flickr user Joe Loong.

For many people, Google is the workplace of dreams. A place where you can sit on giant bouncing balls while speculating about immortal robots and eating complimentary Asian fusion cronuts. But for others, including former Google engineer Erica Baker, it’s a place marked by “not great trends,” including potential disparities in pay dependent on gender and ethnicity. Just recently, Baker decided to test her hypothesis, and encouraged everyone to post their salaries to a public document, investigating key inequities in the process.


While the results have yet to be published, the reaction from Google’s management was intense. Currently, Google has a system for “peer bonuses,” meaning that employees can give fellow employees $150 simply for doing good work. But when management learned that Baker was distributing her document, they refused to sign off on the bonuses—even as her coworkers picked up theirs.

Image via Flickr user meneame comunicaciones

According to Business Insider, Baker started the document “out of boredom,” before posting it on Google’s internal network, where it quickly went viral. Baker recently shared her story on Twitter, because, according to the engineer, she was inspired by Google’s Ida B. Wells Google Doodle, and wanted to highlight hypocrisies. “It got reshared all over the place,” Baker wrote, “People started adding pivot tables that did spreadsheet magic that highlighted not great things re: pay.”

Baker recently left Google to work at Slack, but she doesn’t regret what she did. As she wrote, “The world didn't end. Everything didn't go up in flames because salaries got shared. But shit got better for some people.”

Via: Business Insider

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