Microsoft and Facebook say they’ve closed the gender pay gap. Have they really?

They’re paying Stuart how much?
They’re paying Stuart how much?
Image: Reuters/Christian Hartmann
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Big news—in celebration of Equal Pay Day, executives from Microsoft and Facebook announced that both companies have succeeded in closing the gender pay gap. Microsoft’s head of HR Kathleen Hogan called the development “another step forward,” and Facebook’s Lori Matloff Goler said she was “proud to share” the announcement in a Facebook post yesterday. Fortune first reported the news.

But have the two industry giants made strides in the way they say they have?

In her blog post, Hogan writes that women who work at Microsoft in the US make 99.8 cents for every $1 a man makes, when comparing men and women who hold the same job title and are at the same level. Hogan also mentions that women made 99.7 cents for every $1 a man made a year and a half ago. That means that in nearly two years, Microsoft has improved the gender pay gap by less than half of one cent for all US employees.

Goler’s announcement does not include a breakdown of how women and men are compensated at Facebook. Instead, she writes that Facebook found that men and women are paid the same for similar work through regular reviews and analysis of compensation practices. When asked for a further breakdown, Facebook declined to share any new numbers with Quartz.

When tech companies unveil equal pay numbers, it masks a larger problem: The fact that so few women hold management positions, which is where the big money is. In 2015, women held just 23% of senior leadership positions according to Facebook’s diversity report, a share unchanged from the year before. It’s not alone—women make up just 24% of managers at Amazon, and 28% of global leadership at Apple.

Those management positions, overwhelmingly held by men, pay better. At Google, the median pay for mid-career employees is $151,600, nearly 30% more than early career employees, according to a study of top tech companies launched by PayScale. It’s more likely that these mid-career employees are managers, considering that PayScale defines mid-career employees as those with 10 years of experience or more. Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft have similar breakdowns between early and mid-career employees—and that says nothing of how much CEOs in Silicon Valley make.

Facebook and Microsoft aren’t the only ones to declare that they’ve closed the gender wage gap. Salesforce recently announced it spent $3 million boosting the salaries of women, as well as some men, who the company found were being paid less than their counterparts for the same work. When asked for specifics, such as how much men’s salaries were adjusted compared to women’s, a spokesperson for Salesforce said, “We are not breaking out the numbers beyond the aggregate data.”