AMAZON.COM, INC. | Gender and Racial Pay Gap

AGM date
Previous AGM date
Proposal number
11
Resolution details
Company ticker
AMZN
Lead filer
Resolution ask
Report on or disclose
ESG theme
  • Social
ESG sub-theme
  • Diversity & human capital management
Company sector
Consumer Discretionary
Company HQ country
United States
Resolved clause
Shareholders request Amazon report on median pay gaps across race and gender, including associated policy, reputational, competitive, and operational risks, and risks related to recruiting and retaining diverse talent. The report should be prepared at reasonable cost, omitting proprietary information, litigation strategy and legal compliance information. Racial/gender pay gaps are defined as the difference between non-minority and minority/male and female median earnings expressed as a percentage of non-minority/male earnings (Wikipedia/OECD, respectively).
Whereas clause
Pay inequities persist across race and gender and pose substantial risk to companies and society at large. Black workers’ hourly median earnings represent 64 percent of white wages. The median income for women working full time is 83 percent that of men. Intersecting race, Black women earn 63 cents, Native women 60 cents, and Latina women 55 cents. At the current rate, women will not reach pay equity until 2059, Black women until 2130, and Latina women until 2224. Citigroup estimates closing minority and gender wage gaps 20 years ago could have generated 12 trillion dollars in additional income. PwC estimates closing the gender pay gap could boost Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries’ economies by 2 trillion dollars annually. Actively managing pay equity is associated with improved representation. Diversity in leadership is linked to improved innovation and financial performance. Minorities represent 68 percent of Amazon’s workforce and 29 percent of leadership. Women represent 45 percent of the workforce and 22 percent of leadership. Best practice pay equity reporting consists of two parts: unadjusted median pay gaps, assessing equal opportunity to high paying roles,statistically adjusted gaps, assessing whether minorities and non-minorities, men and women, are paid the same for similar roles. Amazon reports parity for statistically adjusted gaps but ignores unadjusted gaps, which address structural bias women and minorities face regarding job opportunity and pay, particularly when men hold most higher paying jobs. While Amazon reports diversity data, median pay gaps show, quite literally, how Amazon assigns value to employees through the roles they inhabit and pay they receive. Median gap reporting also provides a digestible and comparable data point to determine progress over time. Racial and gender median pay gaps are accepted as the valid way of measuring pay inequity by the United States Census Bureau, Department of Labor, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and International Labor Organization. The United Kingdom and Ireland mandate disclosure of median gender pay gaps, and the United Kingdom is considering mandating racial pay gap reporting. Amazon discloses data for United Kingdom employees, reporting a median base pay gap of 1.4 percent and median bonus gap of 25.1 percent.
Supporting statement
An annual report adequate for investors to assess performance could, with board
discretion, integrate base, bonus and equity compensation to calculate:
• percentage median gender pay gap, globally and/or by country, where appropriate
• percentage median racial/minority/ethnicity pay gap, US and/or by country, where appropriate

How other organisations have declared their voting intentions

Organisation name Declared voting intentions Rationale
EFG Asset Management For The company discusses its policies to advance gender diversity and pay equality in reports and on its website. It also publishes several workforce and board gender diversity statistics and outlines numerous diversity and inclusion initiatives for increasing minority representation in senior positions. The company reports a pay equity statistic for 2021 compensation and states that across its global workforce, the difference between what it pays women and men, and between White and minority ethnic/racial groups in the U.S. statistically adjusted for role, geographic location, tenure, and other factors is very small. The company began publishing its EEO-1 report in 2021.

Amazon does not publish for its U.S. or global workforce the same gender pay gap statistic as it publishes in the UK. The median pay gap statistic provides benefits such as transparency and comparability across time and organizations and serves as one measure of representation of women in senior positions. For its U.S. workforce, Amazon uses an "equal pay for equal work" statistic in which the company defines what it considers to be an "equal job." The company's disclosure of a pay equity statistic and its diversity and inclusion efforts provide shareholders with some visibility into how well the company is addressing poor representation of women and underrepresented minorities at senior levels. However, Amazon has recently faced lawsuits and fines concerning its hiring and pay practices. Publishing the unadjusted pay gap statistic could increase accountability for diversity efforts and would provide shareholders with useful information about how effectively management is assessing and mitigating risks that may rise from inequitable worker treatment. Therefore, shareholder support for this proposal is warranted.
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