Executive Pay At Google Could Be Tied To Gains In Diversity And Inclusion

Written by Ann Brown


The staff over at Google aren’t happy about the company’s slow attempts to diversify and they have pushed back in a rare show of discontent. And it is an interesting proposal the employees of Google’s Alphabet Inc. have. They are partnering with investors in a move to link executive pay to progress made on workplace diversity.

Among Alphabet subsidiaries are Google, Calico, Chronicle, GV, CapitalG, Verily, Waymo, X, and Google Fiber.

Google’s staff wants Alphabet to use related metrics in incentive plans, with a focus on diversity and inclusion in the workforce. This has been brewing for some time, and when engineer James Damore penned a 3,000-word memo against the firm’s affirmative action policies things heated up. Damore also suggested that women are “biologically less-qualified than men for tech jobs.” After being fired, he sued Alphabet for wrongful termination and another lawsuit in 2017 claiming Google discriminated against white males.

A software engineer for Google named Irene Knapp presented a proposal at an annual shareholder meeting on behalf of Zevin Asset Management, which submitted the measure. “They requested Alphabet consider certain metrics in incentive plans, with a focus on diversity and inclusion in the workforce. Though the proposal was voted down, it’s highly unusual for staff to even comment at annual meetings, let alone to chide their leaders,” Bloomberg reported.

Alphabet chairman John Hennessy replied that the board will consider diverse director candidates. And Eileen Naughton, Google’s HR chief, offered that Google will work to increase Black, Latino, and female workers at the company to more representative levels by 2020.

Google staff also united on another front recently when more than 4,000 employees recently demanded that the company’s artificial intelligence technology not be used for military purposes. “Several staff resigned, Google said it would let a Pentagon AI contract expire next year, and Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai is preparing an ethical charter for Google’s AI this week, in part, to appease staff concerns,” Bloomberg reported.