Sony hackers uncover diversity pay issue at Deloitte

09 December 2014 4 min. read

The November 24th Sony hack and dissemination of hacked content has brought much to light. Included in the information trove is a 2005 internal study from Deloitte. Released information discloses an internal probe instigated by Deloitte to identify whether gender and ethnicity were sufficient markers to predict salary. In 58 of the 251 groups probed, it was.

The hotel heist
On November 24th hackers, working from the comfort of the 5-star St. Regis hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, compromised Sony’s internal networks, a heist that netted a trove of highly confidential information. Little is known about the hackers or their affiliation, the group taking responsibility for the infiltration calls themselves the “Guardians of Peace”. While the reason for the hack remains unclear, the hackers have reportedly presented a list of demands on Sony, failure to meet the demands will result in more information being released. So far a number of pieces of business and personal information has been drip-feed to the media through the anonymous link-sharing site Pastebin.

Hackers get into systems of sony

The information the hackers made off with include sensitive information about the profitability of 2013 films, as well as the financial and salary information of a number of executives and personal information of around 6,000 Sony staff. Among the information captured are also documents from secondary businesses, including a 2005 internal audit from Deloitte on pay within the Big 4 firm.

Brought to light
The Deloitte information was purportedly stored on the computer of an ex-Deloitte HR employee, now working for Sony. One of the documents is a spreadsheet which contains the income of 31,124 U.S. Deloitte employees. While names are absent from the spreadsheet, the information does capture the whole spectrum of incomes, from junior to the most senior positions in the company – giving a clear picture of Deloitte’s basic pay structure in 2005.

Pay by Gender at Deloitte

The Fusion interpolated the data to identify the difference between female and male pay conditions. The resultant graph clearly plots the average difference in pay between male and female employees across the different business units given in the spreadsheet. In the more fine grain analyse of the more than 1,000 of Deloitte’s company’s directors’ pay contained in the document— the Fusion reporting that  “the top 10 highest earners are all men, as are 22 of the top 25, 43 of the top 50, and 85 of the top 100.” The data seems to show that in the top pay bracket, men make 25% more than women, and the level of pay discrepancy seems to increase with seniority.

The Fusion reports that the spreadsheet formed part of a larger report into diversity within 251 internal groupings at Deloitte U.S. From a PowerPoint also captured and released by the hackers, the regression of the spreadsheet information allowed Deloitte to make a number of conclusions about its efforts to introduce a company wide diversity and equality policy. “Of the 251 regressions, where we looked at all the possible variables that could predict salary there were 58 groups where salary was predicted by race or gender,” the document reads. “Of these 58 regressions, 34 included race or gender as a predictor in a discriminatory way. Some of these were more significant than others. Of the 34 significant regressions, there were 18 that were problematic based on both regressions & t-tests. These 18 groups were looked at very carefully to make appropriate recommendations.”


Improved since
Important to keep in mind though is that the data from the spreadsheets stem from 2005. Since the firm has worked hard on boosting diversity and equal pay across gender and race, and according to several rankings released annually on the matter the firm can nowadays call itself a strong performer in the field. Just few months ago, Deloitte was named one of the top 10 best consulting firms to work for, and earlier this year the services firm ranked #1 on DiversityInc’s Top 10 List for Global Diversity.

In response to the release of the information, Jonathan Gandal, a spokesman for Deloitte, says: “We have seen coverage regarding what is alleged to be 9-year-old Deloitte data from a non-Deloitte system. We have not confirmed the veracity of this information at this time. Deloitte has long been recognised as a leader in its commitment to pay equality and all forms of inclusion.”