Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) pointed out that April 12 marks Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day takes median earnings into account to determine how many extra days a woman needs to work in order to earn the same amount that a man in her position would make. Microsoft’s equal pay initiative was set out by CEO Satya Nadella around a year and a half ago, with women earning 99.7 cents for every dollar earned by a man at the time. An improvement of 0.1 cents might not appear to be rapid progress for a period of 18 months, but it does go a long way towards eliminating the disparity altogether.
As Microsoft pointed out in the blog post, ethnic and racial minorities are actually raking in more money than their Caucasian counterparts. This perhaps indicates that the tech giant is overcorrecting when it comes to offering equal pay for all employees.
Arjuna Capital filed shareholder proposals towards the end of 2014, asking tech companies to release salary information to determine the gender wage gap at companies. As pointed out by The Wall Street Journal, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) first revealed that it had achieved 100% equality among its workforce in the US. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) pays women 99.6 cents for every dollar earned by a man, while Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) offers 99.9% equal compensation to women.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) did not reveal data, but claimed that both male and female employees earn the same at the companies. That said, it is important to note that 32% of Facebook’s workforce is female, while 27% of Microsoft’s workforce is female. Hence, even though the pay is equal for any given job at these tech companies, the number of women employed is still low. This, however, might be down to interest, qualification, or any number of other factors.
This is a considerable step toward women empowerment as the world’s largest companies lead by example, showing how gender disparity can be avoided. Arjuna Capital filed its request in 2014 that gave tech companies over a year to sort out salary disparities based on gender. 2 cents might not sound like much, but it means that a man can make $1,000,000 a year for the same position while a woman will make $980,000 a year. For high paying positions, the difference could be more or less than $20,000 a year.
Given that major companies are expected to be politically correct, it is interesting to note that tech giants might feel more obliged to offer better pay for women as opposed to small companies. Smaller firms in the tech industry as well as other industries might not necessarily have made the same progress. That is why it is imperative that tech giants lead by example, and remove even minor disparities in the salaries of men and women.