Earlier this week, the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected Amazon’s request to keep their pay data private, after Arjuna Capital filed a shareholder resolution to request that data. Yesterday, Amazon announced that it will share pay data – and that women at the company currently make 99.9 cents for every dollar male employees earn. Amazon also revealed that minority employees make 100.1 cents for every dollar earned by white employees.
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“We are pleased Amazon is stepping up in response to investor concerns about gender pay equity,” said Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement at Arjuna Capital, in a statement. “Given Amazon’s disclosure, we will withdraw our shareholder proposal, asking the company to report on its policies and goals to close the gender pay gap, which would otherwise go to a vote of shareholders at the annual meeting in June.”
“What we know is that a ‘trust me, women are paid fairly’ approach is not enough, and a defensive approach to gender pay equity will not solve the problem,” Lamb continued. “At the current rate of change, the gender pay gap is not expected to close for another 40 years. This is not only bad for society, it is bad for business. Fostering gender diverse teams leads to more innovative better performing companies. Companies can and should commit to closing the gender pay gap, as Amazon has done today. But it won’t happen without bold leadership.”
Apple and Intel have both committed to sharing pay data after requests from Arjuna Capital, which is the activist division of investment firm Baldwin Brothers, Inc. Apple announced that it currently has 99.6 percent equal pay, while Intel says it has closed the gender pay gap.
PayScale’s report, Inside the Gender Pay Gap, shows a smaller gender pay gap in tech than in any other industry – except at the executive level, where the controlled gender pay gap is 5.6 percent, meaning that women earn 94.4 cents for every dollar a man earns, comparing only like job titles and similar work experience and education.
It remains to be seen whether pay transparency alone can close the gap at the top of the corporate ladder. Emily Peck at The Huffington Post points out that only one of the seven corporate officers at Amazon are women, and only 24 percent of managers are female.
“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?” she asks.
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