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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines 496

reifman writes Amazon's hiring so quickly in Seattle that it's on pace to employ 45,000 people or seven percent of the city. But, 75% of these hires are male. While Seattle women earned 86 cents per dollar earned by men in 2012, today, they make only 78 cents per dollar. In "Amageddon: Seattle's Increasingly Obvious Future", I review these and other surprising facts about Amazon's growing impact on the city: we're the fastest growing — now larger than Boston, we have the fastest rising rents, the fourth worst traffic, we're only twelfth in public transit, we're the fifth whitest and getting whiter, we're experiencing record levels of property crime and the amount of office space under construction has nearly doubled to 3.2 million square feet in the past year.
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As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

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  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:06PM (#48426907)
    Here we go again. Timothy, are you angling for a gig at Jezebel?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:28PM (#48427133)

      Equality of opputunity not outcome matters.

      Also, correlation does not imply causation. Is amazon paying women less for same job?

      • by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @02:04PM (#48427557)

        "Also, correlation does not imply causation. Is amazon paying women less for same job?"

        The REAL question that never seems to get an answer

        • by fishthegeek ( 943099 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @02:20PM (#48427723) Journal
          It isn't that Amazon decided to pay women less one day, it just doesn't work that way. Here's the scenario:
          Amazon attempts to pay each employee as little as possible on a per-employee basis. The job description only defines what the upper range of the pay will be but NOT the lower end. Experience, demand shifts in the labor market, education, internal connections at the company, and a bazillion other influences exist to determine pay. I'd suggest that there is a wide pay gap between men doing the same job too, and that we are getting a heavily curated view of what's happening. By illustrating the problem the way the article does it is like shooting a piece of paper and drawing the target around it and then claiming LOOK AT THE PROBLEM. It isn't a problem that has a solution in a market where salary can be negotiated.
          • by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @02:46PM (#48428003)
            Amazon most likely can't find techs of any talent in Seattle without making the prices outrageous. After all, Microsoft is already there scooping a lot of them up. Since women are highly underrepresented in a field where there are not enough people to go around anyway, this is going to skew the results. I'm sure a talented female programmer would be paid the same and Amazon would love to have her. She's just not there. Even her male counterpart is barely there, at least based on the hiring that I have done.
          • by Matheus ( 586080 )

            I do believe a while ago there was another article that went through here talking about just this issue. Specifically about women's ability to negotiate their salary. An employer is going to try to pay *anyone (regardless of gender or race) as little as possible. If the prospective employee is not going to fight for their salary then they are going to get the least the employer puts on the table.

            Here's a loosely related article posted on Dice because hey... it's posted on Dice ;-)


    • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @03:32PM (#48428537)

      Spend a few days reading nothing but technology news []. Then spend a few days reading nothing but political news. For the first few days you’ll see an exciting world of innovation and creativity where everything is getting better all the time. In the second period you’ll see a miserable world of cynicism and treachery where everything is falling apart. Please explain the difference.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        "Social justice warriors" and the people in media trying to push a particular narrative point of view.

        • by dave420 ( 699308 )
          You'd most likely call Rosa Parks a SJW if she was still around. Calling for equality, and studying why it doesn't happen, is never a foolish endeavour, even if your insecurities make it feel like one to you...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:11PM (#48426939)

    I bet Amazon has a lot of computer-programmer hires, and would love to hire more women and to pay them computer-programmer salaries to program computers. And I know that there are women programmers out there. I've seen and worked with several in my career. Like coders in general, some are incompetent, some are incredibly competent. The big difference is that not a single female programmer I've worked with was white, or even native to the United States.

    Just my $0.03. Blame Computer Engineer Barbie if you'd like. :P

    • For the record: I've worked with a few white female computer programmers. One was competent (but a manly lumber dyke), the rest were air thieves.

      • " One was competent (but a manly lumber dyke), the rest were air thieves."
        So you add a worthless antidote, use negative slang to describe them, and imply the more manly one is the better they are?

        Nice way to stack up the microaggression right into misogyny AND homophobia.

        • worthless antidote

          Antidote for what? Some kind of poison, presumably, but I can't figure out what from context....

          Or did you, in your semiliterate way, mean "anecdote"?

          Here's my anecdote, by the by: My wife and I are both programmers, and she makes pretty much the same money I do (more right now - I was out of the workforce for a while dealing with cancer).

        • Maybe you're offended by the way he put it, but his point is valid. As far as 'anecdotes' go, what do you think all of these social (ahem) "science" theories are based on? A lot of fucking anecdotes that's what. A lot of "the facts don't support that claim" statements that are based on biased "meta-studies" that are in turn based on bullshit. The academics entrenched in our universities have created a vast framework that rivals Scientology, all of it *designed* to justify their own continued existence.


    • by jonnyj ( 1011131 )

      I bet Amazon has a lot of computer-programmer hires, and would love to hire more women and to pay them computer-programmer salaries to program computers...

      I like to think that Amazon couldn't care whether its programmers are female, male, black, white, straight, gay, Democrat or Republican: in any sensible world, a company simply hires the best it can find. If few women are applying, or if women are discouraged by interviews with no opportunity for a bathroom break, that's only a problem for Amazon if it's struggling to fill positions.

      The original article fails to pick up on the real risk to Seattle, though, which is economic. History suggests that individual

  • Bullshit Stats. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arbiterxero ( 952505 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:11PM (#48426949)

    Except that when you look at pay equity with relation to what role/job they pay, this feminist bullshit disappears.

    When you look at the overall without understanding it at looks like we live in a sexist society because women choose more emotionally rewarding careers than financially rewarding.

    • by DaHat ( 247651 )

      Damn you for using logic and facts.

    • Re:Bullshit Stats. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:20PM (#48427039)

      That's right, and I wish I had mod points today. Unless the author can show that female techs in Seattle are making less than male techs in Seattle, this is not a story.

    • by Nimloth ( 704789 )

      When you look at the overall without understanding it at looks like we live in a sexist society because women choose more emotionally rewarding careers than financially rewarding.

      Because... traditionally there is more social pressure on the husband to bring the money home. Perhaps this could play a small role in the equation, no?

    • Re:Bullshit Stats. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:34PM (#48427203) Journal

      I want pay equality with people who are better negotiators than me and get $10k more because they can argue the hiring manager into it.

      There are many theories here, including job role, hours worked, and negotiation skill. It seems to me if I thought I could get 85% of the candidates I actually wanted by offering $73k as a start and negotiating, I would do that, unless I needed a higher outcome (95% etc.); but if I knew women were more likely to accept a low bid, I'd take more statistics. If I discovered I could land 85% of women applicants for the given job by offering $65k and negotiating, and 85% of the men by offering $78k and negotiating, I might offer men $78k and women $65k. It would meet my hiring goals.

      Women are inherently poorer negotiators, which is why every society on earth is male-dominated. The dynamics differ after that point: in India and Saudi, a woman can be killed or brutalized or ostracized for getting snippy; while in America, men are terrified of strong-willed women, and so a woman can easily improve her place in society by training herself to be a stronger negotiator with techniques as simple as being fair, but firm. To Americans, a woman who is not easily intimidated is actively intimidating.

      Even when you account for the effects of negotiated salaries, the only societal conclusions you can draw are that the problem lies elsewhere. If you want women to get equal pay for equal work, you should make sure women average equal negotiating skill. Even then, you may find that women are less concerned with money: if a woman is a powerful negotiator, but is exactly as satisfied with a $70k salary as a man is with a $75k salary, the woman will narrow the gap only that much. This is definitively not a problem: the woman is getting what she wants, and would only whine because someone else has *more*; the benchmark of "what other people have that I only care about because they have it" is not an admirable one, and any person who would be equally satisfied with the next person having less rather than themselves having more should be swiftly ignored.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        Except negotiating on a person by person bases for the same work is stupid. Why should a great engineer be paid less because they aren't a social adept as someone else?
        It's the same work.

        • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

          Except negotiating on a person by person bases for the same work is stupid. Why should a great engineer be paid less because they aren't a social adept as someone else?

          Because someone has to talk to customers.

        • Because person by person is how you hire people. I would think that the last thing we would want would be "take it or leave it" job offers. Look what it has done to cell phone contracts, EULAs, utility contracts, heck just about anything.
          • by erice ( 13380 )

            Because person by person is how you hire people. I would think that the last thing we would want would be "take it or leave it" job offers. Look what it has done to cell phone contracts, EULAs, utility contracts, heck just about anything.

            "take it or leave it" works just fine for shoes, hotels, electronic equipment and most everything else we exchange money for. The key is you need enough competition that "leave it" becomes a real, practical choice.

      • There was a study several months back that normalized for hours worked and position level. It found the pay gap was less than 5% if it existed at all.

        I can't find the study at the moment, if no one else finds it, I'll look when I get home.
    • And I have a very hard time believing that any large metropolitan area in the US is actually getting whiter. But let's throw race into the mix too, just to stoke that white male guilt while we're at it.
    • "women choose"

      Fact not in evidence.

    • I had a job offer in Seattle that I turned down due to the cost of relocation, traffic, housing, etc. If I had taken the job, my spouse would have moved too and looked for work. She would not have looked for an engineering job, so yes, there would be pay inequality, but she would not need to deal with 2nd housing, etc. I suepect some of the pay inequality is spouses of engineers working at Microsoft or Boeing working the two income family positions to make the mortguage instead of full time homemaker. T

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      True, but how often do you hear people here complain about CEOs making millions? Either it's related to effort "He's golfing with vendors and reading trade magazines while I work my butt off 60+ hours a week" or results "I've created millions in revenue for them and after 20 years they lay me off and outsource my job to India." Does anybody tell you to STFU, take an MBA and become a CEO yourself? No. But if a nurse complains about long shifts and crappy pay for saving lives then it's easy to pull the same c

  • OTOH (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    On the other hand, ladies, if you're looking for a husband, try Seattle!

  • it has the worst weather!
    • Worst on the north American west coast: True.

      But worst? Spend a winter in Chicago or Moscow. Spend a summer in Florida or Mississippi.

  • by XB-70 ( 812342 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:30PM (#48427167)
    Here is a possible reason for the disparity in income:

    A relative of mine is a Veterinarian.

    When he graduated in the '80s 80% of Vets were male. They worked from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM or longer - often six days a week.

    Today, 80% of Vets are female. Rather than working long hours, they often choose to have a family and work part-time. The net result is that 4-5 female vets do the job of one male vet.

    This is not a bad thing. They get to have both a career and be at home for their families.

    The net result though, it that their incomes are substantially lower than a male vet's would be.

    Is this wrong? No. Is this a new way of having a work-life balance? Yes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid ( 135745 )

      A) You can't seem to do math.
      B) Female Vets do work the same hours
      C) Female vets general spend more time with the pet owners then men.

      "t 4-5 female vets do the job of one male vet."
      this just keep driving me up a wal. So by your "logic" a female vet works 3 hours a day?

      • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @02:58PM (#48428139)
        That's how it is at the practice we use. The owner, a man, is there six days a week. He puts in 60-80 hours a week. Off and on, he's had other full-time vets (mostly men), but in recent years he says that almost every applicant for positions in the practice have been women, and most are willing to work only 4 to 6 hours per day, and no more than 4 days per week. They also still want to be able to take maternity leave, etc. So he has a constantly shifting crew of other vets who make what feel like drive-by appearances, greatly reducing the odds that a customer will be able even see the same person twice during the course of some treatment. It's fine, the practice is well run and and they're all good, talented people. But the incoming "class" of vets shows absolutely no interest in putting in the long (and thus much better paying) hours that they used to. And they're almost all women, so hence the correlation.
  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:31PM (#48427173) Homepage Journal

    The entire 'article' reeks of class envy and jealousy nothing more than that. It's sounds like a socialist cry to arms more than anything else.

    Women are not paid less if they are doing the same jobs and spending the same time doing them as men do, otherwise businesses would only hire women if they could actually pay them less to do the same exact shit.

    Amazon is a company, it's not its job 'to create diversity' in any way, it already does more than any socialist ever could to grow the economy by hiring people, by paying them wages, by offering cheap products to everybody, including those very women and minorities that this garbage 'article' is yapping about.

    The women who use Amazon likely already save more than 25% on their purchases compared to what they would have to pay if there was no Amazon at all. If 'investing in public transit' made Amazon money and was actually fucking legal in the fucking socialist/fascist ran cities, Amazon could certainly get into that business, but it's not clear that it could profit a retailer to get into transportation business. Should a chip manufacturer get into sewer business? Should a pastry chef get into electronics repair business?

    Just because more white qualified males apply to Amazon than minorities or women do doesn't mean that this somehow is Amazon's problem to fix and that it is even a problem in the first place. I am sure there are jobs that minorities and women apply for in overwhelming numbers compared to white males.

    If Amazon is not retaining people at the same rate as Microsoft for example (mentioned in this garbage 'article'), it doesn't mean Amazon is mistreating anybody, it means that Amazon gives people an opportunity to find a low level job that others wouldn't provide to those very people. Can the people that are hired by Amazon be hired by Microsoft? I doubt it very much. However once they worked for Amazon maybe their chances of being hired by other companies increase quite a bit, after all, if a year later people quit it means they can now find better jobs that they couldn't a year before, so Amazon is doing a fine job training people, giving them the lower run of the ladder to step on.

    If it was up to the author of this garbage 'article', Amazon maybe would have the same hiring practices as Microsoft, but then where would all the people that Amazon hires right now find their first jobs?

    Philanthropy has nothing on running a successful business and providing products/services that people are willing to pay for. It's easy to give away money to people, it's hard making money. Making money requires providing enough customer satisfaction to offset your costs, giving money away requires nothing of the sort. Everybody likes getting free lunch, but paying for lunch means that the people paying value it enough to give their money in exchange for that lunch and it's much harder to provide that type of satisfaction than to provide free money. Philanthropy destroys capital that otherwise can be used to increase real customer satisfaction and that's a crime as far as I am concerned. Africa will not get better with hand outs, it will get better with real business growth and opportunities provided by business growth.

    As to the fucking ridiculous advices from this garbage 'article', they stink socialism so high, it's should be embarrassing even to most socialists. 'Advocate for an appropriate tax system in Seattle and Washington state'. WTF is an 'appropriate tax system'? AFAIC the only appropriate tax system is 0 tax, all other tax systems are inappropriate. I hope Amazon advocates for that. 'Lead in diversity both in Seattle and worldwide'? What? How about lead in customer satisfaction. 'Lead on supporting economic programs that make it easier for lower income, lower skilled Seattleites to stay in the city'? Fucking hell, how about save more money and build more business so that all the lower income folks can save even more by buying at Amazon and some of them work there anyway.

    This 'article' is what is wrong with America and the Western world today, total, uninhibited socialist crapola that needs to die in fire, but instead it's spreading like worst type of cancer.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      "Women are not paid less if they are doing the same jobs and spending the same time doing them as men do, "
      demonstrably false.
      I assume the rest of your post is based on that false data and did infect my mind with your stupidity be reading it.

      Let be guess:
      You incorrectly call it socialist. You assume gathering data that show something you don't like is 'whats wrong with America' and you make ad hom attacks against the article and author

      Did I get that about right?

      • Nope, you got it wrong.
        "Women are not paid less if they are doing the same jobs and spending the same time doing them as men do, " -- is NOT demonstrably false.

        The underlying statistics show that any differences are insignificant when all factors are accounted for. It's just the truth, sorry if it doesn't help validate your mission to find injustice in the United States.

        Handicapping the job market to eliminate differences in assertiveness, aggression, negotiating abilities, et al is what? Socialist? I p

  • There are some entertaining quotes in the article. There's a description of an interview a woman had at Amazon, where she was upset because she only was interviewed by males who didn't make eye-contact with her. But this advice from the article:

    Here’s a hot tip for Bezos and other technology leaders — if you want to hire more women, offer your competitors’ female employees more money and fund an ongoing array of collegiate technology scholarships for women and minorities.

    Really, that's such a hot tip! Poach women from other companies! I'll bet Bezos never thought of that! On the other hand, the author isn't trying to make sense, he's just trying to get people to click on his article, so I guess he succeeded.

  • "Getting whiter" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:43PM (#48427295)

    Can someone explain to me how a city getting whiter is necessarily worse for the city?

    Is there a specific race that is missing? If you made it 30% Chinese, 30% White and 30% Indian is that good enough, or do you need some minimal proportion of every race?

    And is it really "race" we need -- ie, if we bulk up on suburbanized, native-born nonwhites (like Mindy Kaling or Aziz Ansari as an example) does that really count, or is what we're looking for some kind of non-white cultural influence, so non-whites who act white don't count?

    Please, someone tell me what the ideal racial combination is.

    • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:52PM (#48427401)

      As the city gets whiter, it reflects more light, which is bad for cities with long, cold, winters.

    • Reasons it sucks for a city to be too white:

      1. Nobody can dance
      2. The music sucks
      3. The racists stop feeling uncomfortable
      4. Too many sweater vests
      5. Car details are boring

      And apparently Slashdot no longer allows the ordered-list tag? Fuck it, I'm leaving it as it is.

    • Re:"Getting whiter" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by klek ( 1237566 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @02:09PM (#48427611)

      Wow. Really? Your post is incredibly obtuse.

      Well, one issue is that the people who HAVE been living here getting displaced, due to rocketing rents, and being forced to move out of the city.

      The other issue, since you obviously don't live in a coastal city, is that when you have a diverse mix of cultures living cheek-by-jowl, you have a very interesting, creative and vigorous culture. Education is improved, understanding is improved, and cuisine is improved - among other things. Port cities with a wide diversity have historically been the loci of learning and tolerance and artistic creativity. You want a peaceful civilization? Encourage lots of different people to live next to each other. You want to encourage intolerance and "racist" violence? Encourage cultural homogeneity.

      "Race" doesn't exist, btw. You're talking about cultural background & skin color. There is only one human race.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        You want a peaceful civilization? Encourage lots of different people to live next to each other.

        Wow, I feel misinformed despite my NY Times subscription. You mean to tell me there's a war going on in 90+% white Scandinavia and I didn't know about it? Given how oppressive their governments are known to be and the complete absence of social welfare there, such barbarism I guess should be expected.

        I'm especially glad to know that multiethnic regions like Africa and the Middle East are so peaceful and nonviolent, that must have been another article I missed out on.

    • by jlar ( 584848 )

      If you look at:

      Seattle demographics []

      in combination with the article you will see that the city is in fact more colored now than in 2000. The original poster is cherry picking statistics to prove his/her point. Seattle is less white now than in 2000. You could say that after a prolonged browning of the city it is now whitening slightly. The long term trend is however not clear.

      I am also a bit confused by the article. It seems like Amazon is only hiring from Seattle itself and not the suburbs. Otherwise they

  • As a Seattlite, the impact that Amazon is having here is distinctly bad. Rents ARE rising at remarkable rates largely because Amazon has gone from 5,000 to 25,000 employees in the last 5-8 years, and they're being paid so much that they can easily afford $2k for 800sqft.

    If we're to expect *another* 20,000 Ama-workers... then fuck me. Anyone paid less than $100k/year will be forced to the fringes of the city, and traffic with become so bad that we'll have to adopt J.G. Ballard's "Chronopolis" solut

  • Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CauseBy ( 3029989 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @01:56PM (#48427447)

    While Seattle women earned 86 cents per dollar earned by men in 2012, today, they make only 78 cents per dollar.

    Well then fucking step up, ladies! Why the fuck do you get away with doing 22% less work than men do? Why do men constantly have to carry you? Men do almost a third more work than women do and frankly, as a feminist, I find that disgusting. Men deserve equality. Men shouldn't have to do more work than women do.

    Meanwhile, during this time when women are only doing 78% of the work men do, women earn the same wages for the same work. That problem is solved, so the remaining problem is that women do unequally little work compared to men.

    Time to stop lolligagging, women.

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      Problem solved.

      Making everyone poor is the usual means by which socialists reduce 'income inequality'.

  • First she complains that Amazon employee are too standoffish, passive, and boring. Then she complains that they're too entitled, confrontational, and intense. Which is it?

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.