- Microsoft systematically discriminated against women in pay and promotions, according to information given to BuzzFeed News, citing two reports submitted as exhibits in an ongoing gender discrimination class-action suit.
- Plaintiffs commissioned the reports, the first of which had been authored by a Princeton University economics professor. After analyzing pay and promotions for thousands of Microsoft employees over a four-year period, the report concluded that women in low- and mid-level roles received less compensation than their male counterparts.
- A second report by an organizational psychology professor at Michigan State University found that Microsoft's guidelines for promoting employees are unclear, leaving open the possibility that promotions are made at the discretion of managers, rather than based on a set of uniformly applied guidelines. A spokesperson claimed that data and other info analyzed by the reports was "mischaracterized."
Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Uber, Twitter and other tech giants have all faced charges of gender discrimination in recent years.
Part of tech firms' struggle with diversity has been attributed to their cultures of bias dominated by men. A First Round survey shows that male founders of tech startups outnumber women 82.7% to 17.3%. And although the numbers aren't an excuse for sexual discrimination or misconduct, they might be responsible for the lack of sensitivity needed to hire, retain and promote women. The resulting turnover costs Silicon Valley $16 billion a year.
Transparency is often a problem with embattled companies. When Google denied practicing sex discrimination, ex-employees sued the company over its pay and promotion practices. Also, where there are no apparent criteria for pay rates or promotions, employees are "kept in the dark" about how these decisions are made. In study after study, it's shown that employees place a high value on transparency.
Salesforce and Adobe have both claimed that pay equity is at 100% for their respective workforces. Both companies regularly conduct internal audits to flag and correct disparities. Those examples are outliers, however. World Economic Forum analysts predict that the gender pay gap will take 200 years to close,