By Mari Saito
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com 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 comes 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 report the difference between men's and women's pay and the company's plans to close any 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 every level 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," Amazon 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.
"I am pleased to see that they are reaching out and putting out a public statement on gender pay," said Natasha Lamb, director of shareholder engagement at Arjuna. "I hope this means they will be more responsive to investor concerns in the future."
The U.S. securities regulator said last week 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.
Lamb said she had not spoken to Amazon since January and declined to comment on whether it would withdraw its proposal.
(Additional reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Bill Rigby)