According to internal email reviewed by Reuters, Alphabet’s Google wants to end a long-running programme aimed at entry-level engineers from underrepresented backgrounds after participants said it imposed “chronic wage inequalities.”
Google stated that the Engineering Residency would be replaced with a new programme, noting that it is “constantly assessing programmes to ensure they develop and adapt over time to suit the requirements of our workers.”
Last year, Google promised to increase employee retention for underrepresented groups.
Critics have long claimed that when it comes to recruiting, promotions, and compensation, Google and its tech industry counterparts favour white, Asian, and male employees. Since the Black Lives Matter rallies a year ago, businesses have become more sensitive to concerns about worker diversity.
Since 2014, the Google residence, also known as “Eng Res,” has provided graduates from hundreds of institutions the opportunity to work on different teams, get training, and demonstrate their suitability for a permanent position over the course of a year. Three previous tenants claimed it provided a group of people with whom they could bond.
According to a June 2020 presentation and an accompanying letter to management signed by over 500 current and past residents, residents were Google’s “most diverse pool” of software developers and came “mainly from marginalised groups.”
Residents received the lowest available salary for their job level, a reduced year-end bonus, and no stock, resulting in a compensation gap “in the mid-tens of thousands of dollars,” according to the presentation.
According to the presentation, nearly all residents became regular employees. Many alumni have continued to experience the “negative influence” of their initial wage on their current income years later, according to the report. When Google hired permanent residents, it stated it tried to eliminate long-term inequalities.
After the global uproar following the police killing of George Floyd, Google donated large funds to promote racial fairness. The letter stated that black, Latinx, and female employees “deserve more than simply ‘the opportunity to work at Google.'”
“While Google is ready to commit huge sums of money outside of the workplace to combat racial disparity, it remains reluctant to confront or even admit the role that the Eng Res programme plays in imposing systematic wage inequalities,” it added.
On June 2, Vice President Maggie Johnson contacted alumni to inform them that the residence will be replaced with a new programme called Early Career Immersion, which Google was developing for 2022. (ECI). The statement, obtained by Reuters, did not specify why the decision was made, although it did state that ECI will involve mentorship and training.
According to the firm, the initiative would give permanent employment. The engineering residency seemed “probationary” because of concerns about being granted a job, according to the Google workers’ presentation.
According to Google, the former programme aimed to give “a wide variety of high potential engineers” with the opportunity to “hone their talents and earn valuable experience as they begin their careers.” “A fresh method will be provided through our Early Career Immersion onboarding programme.”
Other fixed-term residencies at Google continue to exist, including a 26-month position focusing on internal technical systems and an 18-month programme for artificial intelligence researchers. The firm stated that it has no more information about the other residences.