At Wednesday night’s Democratic primary debate, as Michael Bloomberg took a bludgeoning for the mistreatment of women at the company that made him a billionaire, the former New York City mayor mounted this defense of himself:
“Let me tell you what I do at my company and my foundation and in city government when I was there,” he said. “In my foundation, the person that runs it’s a woman, 70% of the people there are women. In my company, lots and lots of women have big responsibilities. They get paid exactly the same as men. And in my City Hall, the top person, my deputy mayor, was a woman, and 40% of our commissioners were women.”
But Bloomberg’s assertion that men and women are paid equally at his company, the financial software giant Bloomberg LP, is false. That’s according to the company’s own disclosures.
In the United Kingdom, where Bloomberg LP employs several thousand workers, women earn 21.9% less than men in terms of their median hourly wage. Women occupy only 1 in 5 of the top quarter of the highest-paying jobs; the representation of women is largest in the bottom quarter of jobs.
And although an equal share of men and women earn bonuses, the median women’s bonus is one-third lower than the median men’s bonus.
Those figures come from a mandatory gender pay gap report that Bloomberg LP filed in the United Kingdom in April 2018. The reports, which are meant to spur change to reduce pay inequity, are not perfect. Companies prepare their own data — reporters have caught some companies submitting impossible figures — and corporate leaders have argued that pay equity reports fail to capture particular reasons why some workplaces have a gender gap.
Still, the report offers a rare window into the company’s otherwise opaque record on pay equity. Bloomberg LP is not required to file an equivalent report in the United States.
“Bloomberg’s assertion that men and women are paid equally at his company, the financial software giant Bloomberg LP, is false. That’s according to the company’s own disclosures.”
There is, however, data to suggest that women are vastly underrepresented in some parts of the company in the U.S. A 2019 evaluation of one of Bloomberg’s U.S. worksites performed by the Department of Labor found that just 519 of 1,950 people employed there were women, or only about 27%.
That evaluation, which the Labor Department performed as part of a compliance check on government contractors, appears to have taken place at Bloomberg’s Park Avenue office in Manhattan.
Notably, when he defended himself, Bloomberg avoided mentioning what percentage of workers at his company are women.
The two reports are only snapshots of Bloomberg’s vast business empire. The largest share of Bloomberg LP’s 20,000-plus employees work in the United States, where corporations are not required to report gender pay gap data to any federal database. And Bloomberg LP does not appear to voluntarily disclose pay equity data or the gender breakdown of its global workforce.
Bloomberg LP did not respond to HuffPost’s questions about whether the Labor Department evaluation took place at one of its New York offices and if those numbers reflect its much larger workforce.
The Bloomberg campaign did not immediately respond to similar questions about its U.K. pay equity disclosures.
Bloomberg’s defense of his track record came as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) excoriated him for the numerous allegations of sexism and misogyny at Bloomberg LP, which he still owns.
In one stand-out example, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the company for a pattern of discrimination against women, especially those who got married or became pregnant. They were often subject to demotions, pay cuts and lost job opportunities, the EEOC claimed.
“I hope you heard what his defense was,” Warren said, responding to Bloomberg. “‘I’ve been nice to some women.’ That just doesn’t cut it.”
Roque Planas contributed reporting.
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