FAIR IS FAIR

Amazon says there’s no pay gap for women and minorities among its US workforce

Amazon says the pay gap is not an issue at the e-commerce giant.

The company says a review of its workforce found that women and minority workers in the US earned as much as their male and white counterparts last year.

The Seattle-based retailer reviewed its 2015 compensation and found that women earned $0.999 to every dollar earned by men for the same jobs, the company announced Wednesday (Mar. 23). It also found that minorities earned $1.001 to every dollar that white employees earned for the same jobs.

“There will naturally be slight fluctuations from year to year,” the company said in a statement, “but at Amazon we are committed to keeping compensation fair and equitable.”

Amazon released the findings after it was pressured by an activist investor to disclose its gender pay gap. In December, Arjuna Capital, the activist leg of investment firm Baldwin Brothers Inc., asked Amazon and eight other US-based tech companies, including Apple, Intel, Facebook, and Google, to report on the difference between men’s and women’s wages at their companies and plans to shore up the pay gap, by October 2016.

Amazon resisted at first and asked the Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to kill a shareholder vote on the issue. But the SEC sided with investors. Amazon voluntarily provided the figures on minority workers.

Today, Arjuna Capital said it would withdraw the proposal, as it did with Apple and Intel after they reported on their wage gaps. “We are pleased Amazon is stepping up,” Natasha Lamb, Arjuna Capital’s director of equity research and shareholder engagement, said in a statement. “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.”

Amazon’s disclosure, coupled with Apple’s and Intel’s, suggest that the gender pay gap may not be as stark in the upper echelons of the tech world as it is in other US industries. Women in the US make $0.78 on average for every dollar earned by men, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates. But women at Apple are paid 99.6% of what their male counterparts earn, and women at Intel earn 100% equal pay, according to the new disclosures.

In terms of representation, Amazon estimated that 39% of its global workforce and 24% of managers were women, as of July, according to Reuters. That’s much less than the national average. BLS estimates that 57% of women participate in the US labor force.

Facebook, meanwhile, has said that women make up 31% of its workforce and hold 23% of leadership roles at the company. And at Intel, which recently committed to becoming more diverse, women make up 25% of the staff and 18% of the the leadership team.

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