Gender

Virtually No Gender Pay Gap at Amazon

Female employees at Amazon earn 99.9 cents for every dollar men in the same positions make.

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Noelas/Flickr

Just a week after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered Amazon to let shareholders vote on "gender pay gap" disclosure, the company reports that its female employees earn 99.9 cents for every dollar that male employees in the same job do.

"Our recent review of the compensation we awarded last year at Amazon–including both base and stock–resulted in women earning 99.9 cents for every dollar that men earn in the same jobs, and minorities earning 100.1 cents for every dollar that white employees earn in the same jobs," the company said in an email statement Wednesday. "There will naturally be slight fluctuations from year to year, but at Amazon we are committed to keeping compensation fair and equitable." 

Amazon is not releasing more info at this time about the methods it used to come to these conclusions, but according to VentureBeat the survey "was conducted by an external labor economist" and "covered Amazon workers at various levels of the company's organization in the United States." As of last summer, Amazon estimated that 39 percent of its global workforce was female and women held about a quarter of management positions. 

Earlier this month, the SEC rejected a request from Amazon to forego shareholder voting on a pay-gap proposal submitted by two shareholders and an activist investment firm, Arjuna Capital. The proposal, submitted to Amazon and eight other tech companies, said that shareholders should get to vote on whether companies included data on "the percentage pay gap between male and female employees, policies to address that gap, and quantitative reduction targets" in their annual reports. 

In a letter to the SEC, Amazon complained that the proposal "gives no indication of how earnings should be calculated for purposes of the requested report… makes no mention of whether the gender pay gap is calculated based on median earnings or mean average earnings, whether earnings are calculated based only on full-time employees or full-time/full year employees, or whether part-time employees should be included (and if so, whether their earnings should be converted to a full-time equivalent basis)… (and) gives no indication of which of the various definitions of earnings used … is to be applied."

"Different calculation methods for determining 'earnings' could show significantly different results," Amazon continued, and "failing to adequately describe the standard, and in fact misleadingly suggesting that there is a single, clearly understood [standard] is impermissibly vague and misleading."

But some have accused Amazon of being misleading itself with the new pay data. "When the most senior, well-paid people at your company are almost exclusively male, is it really accurate to say your business pays men and women about the same amounts?" writes Emily Peck at the Huffington Post.

And here we go again… Whether to measure gender pay differences based on people in the same (or "substantially similar") jobs or as cross-company or country averages has been and continues to be a subject of fierce debate. I tend to think the former information is more useful, but the latter is better for propaganda and goal-post shifting purposes. 

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  1. women earning 99.9 cents for every dollar that men earn in the same jobs

    We’re still ahead! Yay!

    1. You didn’t read the next part, whitey.

  2. Activist investment firm? Yuck.

    1. I have somewhat more respect for this than the usual political pandering.

      If someone wants Amazon to run their business a certain way, then buy it, or at least a big enough part of it, and go about trying to get it set your way. There’s nothing stopping them.

      At least they’re putting their money where their mouth is, instead of vaguely whining about how horrible Amazon is, and how someone else should do something, usually always either the government or a third party, but never the actual whiner.

  3. Pfff…. And I thought Amazon was using a cutting edge business model. Who wants to tell them that they could save 15% or more on their payroll costs by switching to Patriarchy? ?

    1. If you could really get away with paying women significantly less for the same work, one would expect to see more companies hiring women preferentially to men.
      It’s not hard to refute the different pay for the same work thing, but this really illustrates the absurdity of the idea nicely.

  4. “Different calculation methods for determining ‘earnings’ could show significantly different results,” Amazon continued, and “failing to adequately describe the standard, and in fact misleadingly suggesting that there is a single, clearly understood [standard] is impermissibly vague and misleading.”

    “So in response here’s a single simplified figure that tells you exactly what you want to hear.”

    1. I’m wondering if that is what they want to hear.

    2. That was genius.

      1. Of Amazon. Companies – and men – should not play the gap game defensively and compassionately, but offensively.

  5. Fucking Amazon, underpaying their white men employees.

  6. But some have accused Amazon of being misleading itself with the new pay data. “When the most senior, well-paid people at your company are almost exclusively male, is it really accurate to say your business pays men and women about the same amounts?” writes Emily Peck at the Huffington Post.

    Damn, look at those goalposts shifting!

    1. The answer to her “question” is “yes. people are paid for the wrok they do, not what their genitals are.”

      1. Ah, if only we were in a society where such an answer wouldn’t get him fired.

        1. They should just use MLK Jr quotes in response.

        2. Very insightful, Tulpa

        3. Tulpa, you are consistent and persistent, I will give you that.

          1. Alright Tulpa, I’ll tulpa your tulpa. But only if you tulpa me a Tulpa tulpa.

            1. If you say it too many times tulpa will appear and take over your handle.

              1. Listen, Tulpa, tulpity tulp your tulpa Tulpa yourself. Tulip.

    2. Wait til she finds out that flyover country doesn’t pay as well as the coasts.

      1. She already knows that. All the elitists live on the coasts, and deserve more.

    3. They like to shift back and forth from concern over equal pay for the same work and overall payroll distribution as it suits them.

  7. Wake me when someone take up the cause for the bald, weirdo pay gap.

    1. You might be sleeping for a while.

    2. or the gap between me and another guy who has lots of sex with beautiful anonymous women. Where’s JL with a link?

    3. People with glasses are often thought to be smarter than they actually are. But girls want to fuck them less. I’d like to see some government funds confiscated at gunpoint from my fellow citizens to right these grave injustices.

      1. Girls don’t make passes at boys that wear glasses.

        1. David Spader was smoking hot in Stargate. Like… damn.

          1. Kurt Russel was Kurt fuckin’ Russel!

  8. I tend to think the former information is more useful, but the latter is better for propaganda and goal-post shifting purposes.

    The complete strategy is nice. Note that men prioritize money and formal status, and that their goods are highly visible and subject to redistribution. Whereas women’s preferences and goods are more emotional, relational, and not manifested in formal status, nor subject to redistribution. Any comparison and redistribution is bound to favor women, immediately.

    Longer term consequences likely harm women. For instance, their preferences for men are “traditional”, but redistribution and affirmative action reduces the number of such men. Which increases competition among women, giving that sub-group of men considerably more power, and the women who don’t succeed an unsatisfying man. (Implications for marriage, etc.)

    1. not manifested in formal status, nor subject to redistribution

      This is only sort of true, right? I mean, state marriage is a formal status, as is parental status under the state (and both are highly visible too). And children are subject to some redistribution, although not (currently) “fairness”-related. Point being: these things are redistributable even if we don’t do it now.

      1. Sort of: it’s a general rule. (And we’re dealing with groups, notwhitstanding occasional shifts.) I like your thinking. Disregard the idea of “formal status as mere title”. What power (control over goods, including another person) does it signify?

        As for children, they give bargaining power. Let’s say men are “interested in” their children, but less so than women. A neutral – agnostic – system would allow men more bargaining power (principle of least interest). A system that accounts for a child’s well-being, would improve the bargaining position of women, assuming that children need a mother more (age-dependent; controversial).

        1. What power (control over goods, including another person) does it signify?

          In the case of parents, it signifies almost total control, backed up by the state. In the case of spouses, very little formal power remains, though depending on the state you might have a decent amount of power through extortion. But there’s also still enough of a social institution that some amount of power over the other spouse’s actions still obtains, and depending on the specific situation perhaps even almost total financial control.

          1. Social status signifies abilities and resources. These are real things. “Social institutions”… signify a set of preferences, shared by a large group. These preferences may be visible (I suspect that they are more complex than the abilities and resources which social status stands for), but they are not subject to redistribution (not as easily as the resources which social status stands for). I agree that they are a factor. Esteem is of immediate and mediate (willingness to “trade”, help) value.

            OT: Help me with this theory: You dislike fragile men, those who don’t oppose possessive women; more than the same with the sexes exchanged.

    2. Note that men prioritize money and formal status, and that their goods are highly visible and subject to redistribution. Whereas women’s preferences and goods are more emotional, relational, and not manifested in formal status, nor subject to redistribution.

      In God I trust, all other must bring data. Any empirical evidence to support this claim?

      1. Any empirical evidence to support this claim?

        lol.

        1. Argumentum ad lapidem is the best kind of argumentum.

      2. Why would you assume that Sevens is not God?

        1. From my daily reading here, I have concluded that Loki the Trickster is the one, true god.

        2. Lack of empirical evidence.

          1. Well, are you ever going to answer my question? If you’re merely stating a hypothesis, then say so; it is an interesting theory that I suspect has some explanatory power. However, since you stated your premise so confidently, I suspect you have some evidence to support it. If not, it behooves you to preference your statements with an qualifier of epistemic modality (I believe/I think/I guess). That’s ‘Arguing in Good Faith 101’.

            1. I’m not mocking you. Not immoderately. I actually like your question. There’s homogeneity here, so premises tend to go unquestioned. Mine is derived from several sources, things I’ve read over years. You reminded me to make this tacit understanding explicit. That has considerable scope, which – to my amusement – makes me less inclined to throw around with simple references.

              So why did I write this? In part because I’m reflecting on my behavior. I expressed that reflection, because I want to manifest the appreciation I mentioned above. (Not sufficient to make me write something that’s nice to read.) To the same end, here are a few elements:

              “Tend and befriend” (hypothesis; Taylor et al; Joyce Benenson) versus “fight and flight”. Person- versus thing orientation (occupational and personal choices), agreeableness; aggression (Anne Campbell); risk-aversion; male dominance hierarchies; female dyadic relationships; attachment theory. Sex difference in religiosity; romance novels; sex drive. Homemakers, part-time work (preference theory: Catherine Hakim); shopping (“status symbols”; Gad Saad); language (feminine, duets, emoticons – versus male duels). Dyslexia, autism (Cohen), psychopathy versus empathy. Complementarity, hybristophilia, rape fantasies. Et cetera.

              1. (12 characters over)

                You’re right, I am fairly confident in that. But it’s still barely a formulated model. And speaking of things unquestioned (and dramatically less sexy than women), a complete model has to explain despondent, fragile, powerless men.

    3. men prioritize money and formal status

      Well either my priorities are wrong or my genitals are.

      1. Are you sure it’s not both?

      2. Please provide photo evidence if the correct answer is the latter. Thank you.

        1. Imagine if someone took a ravioli covered in marinara, threw it on the pavement, then stomped on it with a muddy boot.

          1. Okay, I’m imagining it. Now what?

            1. Now imagine you’re eating it and that will be just like going down on Hugh’s pegina.

  9. Is this where we’re supposed to give the *triple snap* “you go girl”?

  10. The thought of an activist investment group makes me wonder. If you’re a publicly traded company, is there anything you can do from keeping these kinds of folks from buying up enough share in the company and ruining it? Obviously it would have to be other shareholders, right?

    If the board or shareholders more generally vote down such a measure, the investor could just keep buying more until they had the votes. While they may not be feasible in a company the size of Amazon, I could see it happening in small publicly traded companies.

    1. Well the act of tanking the company should stop them from having the resources to do it too many others.

    2. If you’re a publicly traded company

      Then you are whoever owns a controlling interest.

      1. I understand that. I guess my point is more, think of the minority shareholders who get screwed because of some “activist investment group” who is more interested in a social policy statement. With that being said, I don’t think it happens very or often or ever. Just kind of something I was musing about as I read the story.

  11. I found agile cyborg! He works at Arby’s.
    http://hw-mobile.worldstarhiph…..000&rs=850

    1. Holy shit that was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages. And spot on. Can’t believe that made it to air. That guy is either utterly brilliant, or completely insane.

      1. After some research, turns out it was fake. That news report was from 2011 and a comedian edited himself into it. Still pretty funny…

  12. Good thing I’m already boycotting Amazon. Now they’re disrespecting my privilege.

    1. Who aren’t you boycotting these days?

      1. I think he’s confessing to being too broke to shop anywhere, hense boycotting everyone.

  13. Seeing that men,on average,work more hours and take more risks,it’s unpossible for women ,on average ,to make as much money. Men also are more likely to be doctors,construction workers,engineers,business owners and so on.

    1. But that’s the fault of TEH PATRIARCHY!!!!1!1!!111!

    2. Well, obviously someone needs to force women to work harder.

  14. And what do the upper-level muckity mucks have to say about the crushing indignity the poor factory workers suffer when they’re told to shut the fuck up and do their jobs? Huh, huh? You can’t just expect people to be happy with their jobs if you don’t give them plenty of inane, meaningless “benefits” like a pizza party once a quarter.

    1. The point of pizza parties once a quarter is to be able to forgoe raises. You make people happy enough with their lives and they care less about advancement.

      1. Get a load of Frederick Herzberg over here!

      2. The inane benefits are to keep stupid employees from realizing that they’re wage slaves suffering under their master’s metaphorical lash.

        1. It was supposed to be metaphorical?

      3. Right on the money with this one, Tulpa

      4. That requires once a month. Quarters are associated with economic performance, which is associated with personal advancement.

        1. Pizza is still cheaper than raises.

          1. Of course. I’m arguing for more pizza, not no pizza.

  15. What is the gender gap for random, drunk, one-click ordering purchases that are shipped before you wake up the next morning?

    1. I do love my drunk amazon orders.
      I once bought pasta. Did I think it was delivery? Maybe. Did I also buy light bulbs and a talking heads album at the same time? Yes.

    2. Get a Post-It. Write, “No one needs a case of canned butter at any price.” Stick said note on your monitor.

      Thank me later.

      1. Not for eating. What did you have in mind?

  16. I’d fire whatever putz came up with this lame-ass report.

    Give me access to Amazon’s payroll and HR data and I can guaran-damn-tee you I can come up with a report that shows there is a gender pay gap at Amazon – and it favors women. I mean, right off the top of my head, did they think to calculate the pay on an average dollar-per-pound basis? You torture statistics enough and they’ll say anything you want – why go with parity when you could have advantage, women?

    1. You can’t forget, it’s a sumo culture, Jerryskids. They pay by the pound over there. Sorta like, um, tuna.

  17. And here we go again… Whether to measure gender pay differences based on people in the same (or “substantially similar”) jobs or as cross-company or country averages has been and continues to be a subject of fierce debate

    I really can’t understand how it could be a debate at all. It’s completely unfair to compare the pay of people doing different work if you are interested in a compensation gap.

    1. Their interest is not in getting equality.

    2. I think the debate is why anyone should make more money than anyone else because socialism. Do you really believe Wall Street bankers deserve to earn more money than school teachers? Are you some kind of monster?!

      1. When I see school teachers going to top tier grad schools after work, then going back to work after class, then getting additional certifications, and giving up tenure and putting in 60-hour weeks and calling it a light week, maybe we’ll talk.

        1. You forgot 3 or 4 month long summer vacations.

  18. If Amazon’s numbers are accurate, there almost certainly is a compensation gap at the company – favoring women. Non-cash compensation (you never hear those demanding pay equality bring that up) for women tends to be higher for women than men (e.g. PTO for maternity, any fixed retirement benefits, etc.).

    1. Amusingly, in-house child care falls under that, while it’s argued that the lack of it is “unequal”. A list of the financial dimension of affirmative action (training, whatever) is also necessary.

  19. Millennial women definitely have a huge advantage over millennial men. In twenty years as the current generation retires, the power structure is going to be very female-centric. Judging by the current feminist movement, I imagine that’s going to be a lot worse for men than the patriarchy (when it actually somewhat existed) was for women.

  20. Let’s face it, Amazon runs one of the most sophisticated informatics shops in the world.

    Of course they can beat the data into submission until it tells them what they want it to say.

    I think they may have overdone it, actually. 0.1% off of perfect is a little too reminiscent of dictators winning 99% fo the popular vote.

    1. I took it as a sarcastic answer becuase of the lack of parameters in the request.

      1. Or it could have been this:

        “Everyone named John H. Jackson in Payroll who is an assistant clerk earned the same amount as everyone else named John H. Jackson in Payroll who is an assistant clerk. Everyone named Sally SJW who is a shipping and receiving stocker earned …”

        The 99.9% and 100.1% is either trolling or else obfuscation for people bad at math and the concept of significant digits in decimals.

    2. Or maybe they have an intensely competitive culture that rewards performance regardless of who is doing it, such that people at similar levels earn similar amounts.

    3. That makes the 99.9% claim look very much like an intentionally aggressive reaction.

  21. Holy cow, Second Life is still around?

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