According to an article on The Information (paywall), Uber reportedly implemented an algorithm to figure out the lowest possible offer it could give to new hires. Investors were supposedly becoming worried that the company was doling out too much equity, so Travis Kalanick allegedly approved this new system in 2015, which helped the company save millions of dollars by significantly reducing what it offered to applicants.
The computer program factored in a candidate’s previous pay and stock options to calculate the offer, and since women are systematically paid less, a perhaps unintended result was that the algorithm helped perpetuate the gender wage gap.
Of course this practice isn’t exclusive to Uber; asking about previous pay has been such a driving factor in keeping the pay gap in place that Massachusetts recently signed a law outlawing the practice. Uber just found a way to automate it. CGW