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If you want to know what it’s really like to be a woman working at Google, it’s best to ask the women. And women are highly satisfied with the company, according to data from Glassdoor. There’s only one exception but it’s a big one: they don’t feel as good about their career opportunities as their male colleagues do.
In the aftermath of the controversial Google memo on diversity and conservatism, and the firing of its author James Damore, there’s been a non-stop parade of people opining about the company and its treatment of women.
But one Google employee says a critical voice on the issue has been overlooked: that of the women who actually work at Google.
“Look, our voice isn’t being heard. No one is asking us how we feel about it,” one female Google employee told Business Insider’s Steve Kovach.
The female Googler acknowledged the company wasn’t perfect, but by and large believed the opportunities for women at the company were good. And she’s not alone.
When they are asked, women say they very much like working for the company, according to data from Glassdoor.
Women at Google rate the company a 4.4 out of 5, compared to a 4.2 for the men at Google And that’s far and away above the average 3.3 rating most companies receive on Glassdoor.
- Business Insider/Andy Kiersz
The glaring exception
There is one exception and it’s a biggie. Women at Google don’t rate their opportunities for advancement as high as the men do, according to Glassdoor’s data.
Women rate career opportunities at 3.9 out of 5 versus men at 4.2 out of 5.
One reason they may feel this way is that women at the company feel outnumbered. At a recent gathering for women to talk internally about the memo, there was much talk about “how women at Google are a minority,” Kovach reported.
And they truly are outnumbered in every way. Women make up 31% of all roles across the entire company. In tech and engineering, the lifeblood of the company, women make up only 20% of the staff. And in leadership roles across the entire company, women make up 25%.
Another reason could be something called “occupational segregation,” where women tend to be tracked for lower paid roles than men, Glassdoor’s Chief Economist, Dr. Andrew Chamberlain told Business Insider.
This segregation could be why the US Department of Labor (DoL) has accused Google of “systemic compensation disparities” between the pay of women and men, even as Google has vehemently denied the accusation, and Glassdoor found the same, no pay difference between women and men in the same roles. However, Glassdoor also found that women are still paid 16% less than the men because fewer women have the highest paying jobs at Google.
It’s not a perfect place
One former woman engineer we talked to s
- Flickr/Dmitry Alekseenko
aid she saw this situation happen at Google: a man and a woman would be hired with about the same backgrounds at the same time and the man would start at a higher engineering level, with more pay, than the woman. She felt that bias could be at play in such decisions.
And that’s the kind of bias that Google’s diversity programs are supposed to counteract.
Other woman feel that they’ve been given ample opportunities and promotion at the company, including the product designer that spoke with Kovach.
“Google’s not perfect. It’s not a perfect place for women to work. But that’s pretty much everywhere, right?” she said.
“I don’t feel like I have any more or less opportunity as a woman here than I did at any of the other workplaces I’ve been,” she added.