Women make as much as men at Amazon, retailer claims

Women workers at Amazon.com Inc in the US earned 99.9 cents for every $1 men earned doing the same jobs in 2015, the company said on Wednesday, in response to activist investors pushing technology companies to close the gender pay gap.

According to Amazon, it hired an independent labour economist to conduct the study, which was completed "recently."

"At Amazon, we are committed to keeping compensation fair and equitable," the company said in a statement, adding that minority employees earned 100.1 cents for every $1 earned by white employees in the same positions.

Arjuna Capital, the activist division of Marion, Massachusetts-based investment firm Baldwin Brothers Inc, in a proposal asked Amazon, the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide and No 1 internet retailer, to conduct a report on gender pay this year.

The retailer wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking permission to omit the resolution from its proxy materials, arguing it was so "vague and indefinite" that it would not be possible to determine what actions the proposal required. The SEC did not agree.

''This is exactly what we asked them to do,'' said Natasha Lamb, director of equity research and shareholder engagement at Arjuna. "We are very pleased that Amazon is stepping up to investor concerns about gender pay equity, and we will withdraw our resolution,'' Bloomberg reported.

According to Arjuna, Amazon was the only technology company that sought to block the shareholder resolution on gender pay.

''There will naturally be slight fluctuations from year to year, but at Amazon we are committed to keeping compensation fair and equitable,'' Amazon said in a statement.

According to commentators, the new report would likely not silence critics of the company's employment practices. For instance, jezebel.com noted yesterday: "While women make as much as men at Amazon, the report indicated that women only accounted for 39 per cent of the company's workforce. Also, women comprised only 24 per cent of the management at the retailer.''