The cryptocurrency exchange startup Coinbase consistently paid women and people of colour less than other employees performing similar jobs, new data from the New York Times has found, exposing a glaring pay gap that’s large even by the tech industry’s miserable standards.
According to salary details analysed by the Times for roughly 830 employees through the end of 2018, women employees at Coinbase were paid an average of $US13,000 ($17,074), or 8 per cent, less than men with comparable titles at the company. The 16 salaried Black employees included in the data also made significantly less, at an average of $US11,500 ($15,104), or 7 per cent, less than other employees in similar jobs.
The Times’ analysis was conducted by Alexandra Marr, an economist who frequently parses data for court cases involving pay bias. In analysing the data, Marr also found that when Coinbase’s stock options were taken into account, the pay gap between white and Black employees grew to 11 per cent, even as the rate of compensation for women and men remained roughly even.
The accuracy of the data was confirmed by nine employees whose salary information had been included, who spoke on behalf of themselves and colleagues whose salary information they knew.
Coinbase — which recently told regulators that it intends to file for an initial public offering — was already facing a mounting PR crisis after some 15 former employees, most of them black, publicly accused the company of “tokenizing” them in November 2020.
“Most people of colour working in tech know that there’s a diversity problem,”one of those employees, 25-year-old Alysa Butler, told the Times. “But I’ve never experienced anything like Coinbase.”
The new data represents the strongest corroboration of those allegations of discrimination to date, and will likely fan the flames of an ongoing discourse around the pay irregularities and racial discrimination that many workers say is all too common in the tech industry.
L.J. Brock, Coinbase’s chief people officer, told the Times in a statement that the company had initiated a comprehensive review of salaries across the company up to and including late 2018.