How Salesforce Worked Hard to Close Its Gender Wage Gap

“I’ve had CEOs call me and say, this is not true. This is not real. And I’ll say to them, ‘This is true. Look at the numbers. CEOs, with one button on one computer, can pay every man and every woman equally. We have the data. We know what everyone makes,” said CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff. However, it was chief personnel officer Cindy Robbins who brought the issue of the company’s gender pay gap to light.

Benioff announced that he would not call a meeting if there were less than 30% of women in the room

The San Francisco company recently landed the No.1 spot for the second time in a row in the category of ‘Companies That Care’ and is not showing any signs of slowing down in terms of gender equality. So what made the company and its CEO wake up to doing something about the gender wage gap that many people see as a myth. Simple, the number spoke the truth. It was revealed that there was a rampant wage gap across departments, geographies, and divisions in 2015, and to tackle this, Benioff dedicating $3 million in the same year for the discrepancies and another $3 million in 2017 to compensate those who were affected by their race, gender, and ethnicity across the country. Benioff also said, “Like, we would have a meeting and I would look around the room and I’m like, ‘This meeting is just men. Something is not right.” Hence, he announced that he would not call a meeting if there were less than 30 percent of women in the room. 

“Until you level that playing field, you’re going to get that same outcome.”

“There’s no excuse,” he added. This is because there is a lot that leaders do for their organizations, both big and small; they hold the power to make a change. Moreover, in the months that followed the first dedication of the $3 million, Benioff decided to speak about the gender wage gap wherever he went. From the home of Patricia Arquette to the White House, he took the message of equal pay, however, the problem at Salesforce didn’t disappear. Why? After acquiring other companies, the not only got their technology but also their culture and practices and soon he realized that this is a recurring problem and the fight for equal pay is a never-ending one, not a once-for-all antidote.  Ellen Kullman, the former CEO of DuPont and co-chair of Paradigm for Parity said, “Until you level that playing field, you’re going to get that same outcome.” From unconscious bias in hiring to changing the way women and men are paid are something that Salesforce takes extremely seriously and the rest of the corporate world has a lot to learn from them.

Image credit: Fortune

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