Alphabet’s shareholders, including top executives, voted down several proposals on Wednesday, defeating campaigns to tie pay to diversity goals and to get the Google parent to provide more data about efforts to moderate user-generated content.
Alphabet management, which effectively has voting control of the company, had moved against the proposals.
Shareholders and employees said Wednesday that a gender pay gap and lack of diversity could make it difficult for the company to hire and retain workers, posing a long-term risk to its capability to innovate.
“At Alphabet, diversity and inclusion activities by individual contributors have been met with a disorganized array of responses, including formal reprimand,” Google software engineer Irene Knapp said during the shareholder meeting. “The chilling effect … has impaired company culture.”
Eileen Naughton, who leads Google’s HR operations, said the company remains committed to an internal goal to reach “market supply” representation of women and minorities by 2020, which could help bring hiring in line with the diversity of the candidate pool.
Reuters reported in March that several hundred employees formed an organized effortasking Google to adopt several measures, including human resources guidelines that specify protections for anyone involved in an internal HR investigation.