Google's former UK head calls for all salaries to be public to end pay gap

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Google’s first-ever employee outside the US has opened up about the injustices in her career as she called on British companies to disclose the exact pay of its staff in an effort to close the gender pay gap.

Top technology executive Kate Burns, who set up the search giant’s London office in 2001, described how she was forced to hire a male executive on double her salary.

She told the Standard: “I was told that I would have to accept that he came from traditional media and that his age and tenure justified his salary. However, my compensation was never re-addressed, even though on paper I had more years’ relevant experience. I was never asked to hire a woman that was paid more than me.”

After seven years with Google, Burns went on to hold a string of senior roles including at tech firms Daily Motion, AOL and Buzzfeed, specialising in online advertising. She is now a partner at London technology investor Hambro Perks.

Burns believes that, although the pay situation for women has improved in the intervening years, there is still work to do to achieve equal pay.

“Organisations like the BBC have had to make gender pay a very public matter,” she said. “Companies are not publishing the exact salaries of their staff or, if they are, it’s only for senior roles so women do not know if they’re being paid the same as men.”

Burns suggests figures should either be published publically or to an external auditor of companies who sign up to equality initiatives. She claims that tech and banking are among the worst industries for inequality: “When a gender is a minority it allows for bad behaviour.” 

UK companies with 250 or more employees currently have to make public their gender pay gaps but are not obliged to publish each employees’ salary internally or externally. Companies regularly publish the average salaries of different roles and the pay packets of senior executives.

A Google spokeswoman said: “Fairness is important to us at Google; our policy is to pay people for what they do, not who they are. We know there is much more to do in ensuring we have gender fairness, particularly in leadership roles so we remain focused on ensuring fairness in all our people processes and programmes to make sure Google is a great place for everyone to work.”

Burns was speaking as research into the technology industry showed 67% of business leaders have rejected a job because of a prospective employers’ values. The Digital Nation study canvassed bosses including Monzo’s Tom Blomfield and Lastminute.com co-founder Martha Lane Fox.

Source Article from https://www.standard.co.uk/business/google-s-former-uk-head-calls-for-all-salaries-to-be-public-to-end-pay-gap-a4061566.html

February 9, 2019 |
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