Google drops engineering residency after protests over 'inequities.'


June 24, 2021: -According to Reuters, Alphabet’s Google plans to close a long-running program that aims at entry-level engineers from underrepresented backgrounds after participants say that it enforced “systemic pay inequities,” according to internal correspondence.

Google confirmed it will replace the Engineering Residency with a new initiative and said it is “always evaluating programs to ensure they evolve and adapt over time to meet the needs of our employees.”

Last year, Google pledged to improve retention for underrepresented groups of employees.

Critics have argued for a long time that Google and its tech industry peers favor white, Asian, and male workers to hire, promotions, and pay. However, companies have grown more attuned to concerns about workforce diversity since the Black Lives Matter protested a year ago.

The Google residency often referred to as “Eng Res,” has since the year 2014 given graduates from hundreds of schools a chance to work on other teams, receive training, and prove themselves for a permanent job over a year. In addition, it offered a cohort of peers for bonding, three former residents said.

Residents were the “most diverse pool” of Google software engineers. They came “primarily from underrepresented groups,” according to a June the year 2020 presentation and an accompanying letter to management that one source said above 500 current and former residents signed.

Compared with other software engineers, residents received the less possible pay for their employment level, a small year-end bonus, and no stock, creating a compensation deficit “in the mid-tens of thousands of dollars,” the presentation said.

Around all residents converted to regular employees, according to the presentation. However, after many years, many alumni have continued to feel the “negative effect” of their starting pay on their current salary, it said. Google said it worked to eliminate long-term disparities when hiring residents permanently.

The letter came after Google gave significant donations to promote racial justice amid the global outcry over the police murder of George Floyd. Black, Latinx, and female staff “deserve over just ‘the opportunity to be at Google,'” the letter says.

“Google is willing to invest large sums of money in issues of racial inequity outside of the workplace, but it seems unwilling to address or even acknowledge the role that the Eng Res program plays in enforcing systemic pay inequities,” it said.

Vice President Maggie Johnson send alumni an email on June 2, saying Google would replace the residency with a new program devising for 2022, called Early Career Immersion. According to Reuters, the message did not explain the reasons for the switch but said ECI would including mentoring and training.

The company said the program would provide permanent employment. However, concerns about being offered a job made the engineering residency feel “probationary,” the Google employees’ presentation said.

Google keeps running other fixed-term residencies, including 26-month roles working on internal technical systems and an 18-month program for artificial intelligence researchers. However, the company says that it had no updates on the other residences.

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