Amazon says its female workers paid equally as men

Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City, January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Inc, under pressure from an activist shareholder to disclose its policies on gender pay equality, said on Wednesday its female employees earned as much as their male counterparts, according to a survey it recently conducted.

The disclosure came as U.S. companies face criticism on the issue of pay equality, especially in the male-dominated technology sector.

The Seattle-based online retailer disclosed the results of its study after pressure from Arjuna Capital, the activist arm of investment firm Baldwin Brothers Inc, which has been pushing it to prepare a report on gender pay equity.

Arjuna withdrew its original proposal after Amazon announced the results of its gender pay study on Wednesday.

“We are pleased Amazon is stepping up in response to investor concerns about gender pay equity,” said Natasha Lamb, director of shareholder engagement at Arjuna, calling on Amazon to further report on its policies and goals to close the gender pay gap.

Amazon, which estimates that women made up 39 percent of its global workforce and 24 percent of managers as of July, said a review of compensation including both base pay and stock compensation found that women earned 99.9 cents for every dollar that men earned in the same jobs. The survey, which was conducted by an external labor economist, covered Amazon workers at various levels of the company’s organization in the United States. “There will naturally be slight fluctuations from year to year, but at Amazon we are committed to keeping compensation fair and equitable,” the company said in a statement.

The study, which was recently completed, also found that minorities earned 100.1 cents for every dollar that white employees earn in the same jobs. The U.S. securities regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, said last week that Amazon should allow shareholders to vote on a proposal on gender pay equality put forward by Arjuna, after the company had sought permission to omit the proposal from its proxy statement.

Additional reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Bill Rigby and Jonathan Oatis