The tech giant uses an algorithm to work out how much a worker should be paid based on the market rate for their role, their location, level and performance rating, but managers are able to issue bonuses or raises on merit.
Google noticed a pay discrepancy affecting some of its low level software engineers in its annual analysis of compensation across the firm, which meant that women would have been paid more than men.
In total, Google paid out 9.7 million dollars (£7.3 million) in automatic adjustments to 10,677 employees, but it did not specify how many of those were due to men being underpaid.
“Our pay equity analysis ensures that compensation is fair for employees in the same job, at the same level, location and performance,” said Lauren Barbato, lead analyst for pay equity and people analytics at Google.
“But we know that’s only part of the story. Because levelling, performance ratings and promotion impact pay, this year we are undertaking a comprehensive review of these processes to make sure the outcomes are fair and equitable for all employees.”
Former Google engineer Liz Fong-Jones took to Twitter, arguing that the revelation does not constitute sexism against men.
“Worth noting is that they (again) failed to control for underpromoting and under-levelling women,” she said.
“If you have a group of women who are outperforming at level, of course they’ll get given more manager discretion.”
Google’s handling of diversity and inequality has been under the spotlight in recent years, most recently highlighted by a global walkout of an estimated 17,000 workers in protest at claims of sexual harassment, gender inequality and systemic racism.
Following the movement, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai pledged that the company would be more forceful and open about how it deals with sexual misconduct cases.
In 2017, a lawsuit was filed against the company by three former female employees who claimed that Google discriminates against them in pay and promotion, while a separate investigation by the US Department of Labour into women’s pay was launched in the same year.