Until it was brought to his attention, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, did not believe that a pay gap existed between men and women in his company.
Now, Salesforce the $10 billion cloud-based CRM company that over 15,000 companies use to leverage its predictive analytics capabilities and other sales tools has ponied up $6 million to equalize the workplace between men and women.
Being rated the best place to work by Fortune magazine didn’t exactly help in coming to this realization. In 2016, after hard data analysis performed in-house, it had become clear – among the then 17,000 employees, there, in fact, was a gap, and it was on a global scale.
“Just everywhere,” Benioff said during in a televised interview on 60 Minutes. “It was through the whole company, every division, every department, every geography.”
Salesforce policy stated that men and women should be paid equally, though the rule was not carried out properly.
It’s an Ongoing Process
“We’re gonna have to do this continuously,” Benioff responded after asked whether equal pay will take 100 years. “This is a constant cadence…. You’re gonna have to constantly monitor and keep track of that.”
“I mean there is a lot of resistance. But this—there’s never been an easier time to make this change. CEOs with one button on one computer can pay every man and every woman equally. We have the data. We know what everyone makes. There’s no excuse. Everybody can easily do this now.”
In tech, on average, women may make from five percent, up to 25 percent less than men in the same positions, regardless of seniority. For Salesforce, it isn’t enough to merely audit their books once per year. Benioff stated that after audits and adjustments, a pay gap still existed between men and women in Salesforce.
“We’re, like, ‘How can this be?’” Benioff added. “But it turned out we had bought about two dozen companies. And guess what? When you buy a company, you just don’t buy its technology, you don’t buy its culture, you also buy its pay practices.”
The $6 Million Investment
Without hesitation or a price tag to accompany the adjustment, once it had Benioff’s got word of the pay inequality, he immediately ordered the correction. The first year, it cost Salesforce $3 million alone, mimicking that same cost the following year.
Benioff has made an example of Salesforce. Since its founding in 1999, it has been his primary goal to promote philanthropy, and even pay Salesforce employees to donate their time to their community, as well as giving over $180 million to non-profits over the last nineteen years.
Benioff’s long-time devotion to gender equality continues to present itself in full form, showcasing that despite the tech industry being primarily male-driven, there’s more than enough room for everyone at the table.
Benioff stated that one day, he looked around at their leadership meeting, and saw that it was 100 percent men sitting at the table. From that point, he decided that he wouldn’t have another company leadership meeting without (at least) one-third of the attendees being women.