Google has become one of those companies that sci-fi novelists dream of. With enough data to track everyone person in the world and more control over our daily lives than we like to admit, this tech giant is a villainous monster waiting to happen. However, Google's unofficial slogan, “Don't be evil,” has often quelled any fears of wrongdoing in the general public. Unfortunately, those days might be behind us.
As the gender wage gap in tech becomes more and more of a problem, The Department of Labor has begun asking companies to provide wage gap data to better inform on their future decisions. And while Google is usually on the right side of history, they claim they are unable to provide the data. The reason? It's too expensive.
“The handful of The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs' requests that are the subject of the complaint are overbroad in scope, or reveal confidential data, and we've made this clear to the OFCCP, to no avail,” a spokesman wrote in a statement. “These requests include thousands of employees' private contact information which we safeguard rigorously. We hope to continue working with OFCCP to resolve this matter.”
From Google's own perspective, the data collection would cost somewhere in the ballpark of $100,000, along with 500 or so hours of manpower. While that may sound like a lot to someone sitting behind a computer, a company like Google, with an annual income of $28 billion, could manage that fee with one arm tied behind its back.
“Google would be able to absorb the cost as easy as a dry kitchen sponge could absorb a single drop of water,” said Ian Eliasoph, a lawyer for The Department of Labor.
Yes, The Department of Labor has requested data in the past, which has resulted in approximately $500,000 in work and 2,300 hours of manpower from Google. Unfortunately for the big G, no one is going to be sympathetic when it comes to solving the gender wage gap problem, especially when it's costing you less than a 1/10,000 of a percent of your annual income.
The real question is: what is Google so worried about? While companies like Uber have taken substantial hits when revealing diversity data, the world recognizes effort when it sees it. While Uber's diversity report was nothing if not disappointing, experts and consumers alike commented, “Hey, at least they're being honest.”
At this point in the game, Google's only Achilles Hell will be a lack of transparency. The world is already wary of the lack of privacy in the world, an effort primarily fostered by Google's interconnected model. As a result, transparency will be the key to keeping their kingdom in tact. And that starts with divulging information in regards to the gender wage gap, even if it is a little “expensive.”
Read more about the need for diversity in tech here on Tech.Co