Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: “There’s No Excuse” for Gender Pay Gap

In a recent feature in 60 Minutes of CBS News, Marc Benioff, CEO of tech company Salesforce shares the importance of gender equality in the workplace, and the steps he is taking to make sure the men and women of his 30,000 employees are paid equally for the same work. Thank you to Marcia Davies, COO of Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and Council Member of NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC) for bringing this motivating story to our attention.

The fight against gender inequality is a long and rewarding journey. As Benioff states, it will take us “more than 100 years for us to pay men and women equally. So we better get going now.” Women currently make 80 cents for every dollar men earn. This is a difference of 20 cents from the pay gap in 1960, when women earned 60 cents for every man’s dollar. Improvement is happening, but it’s at a slow crawl.

However, if leaders follow Benioff’s initiative in making equal pay a priority in their companies, perhaps we do not have to wait a century for women to earn the same paycheck as their male counterparts for comparable work. Salesforce is well-known company for having a great culture and embracing the tenets of diversity and inclusion, including the promotion and retainment of women.

As it has been named the best place to work among major companies by Forbes, Benioff knew he had a reputation to uphold. When Cindy Robbins, Personnel Chief of Salesforce, brought to his attention the inattention as to whether their payroll had discrepancies by gender, Benioff assented to having an audit performed.

The company found it is was susceptible to same gender pay gaps found at other companies, and spent $3 million to fix the problem. After the time, effort and resources spent to address the gender pay gap at all levels of employment, the company found that discrepancies crept up again the next year, which required another $3 million to address. Benioff plans to conduct routine annual audits as part of Salesforce’s continual effort to ensure gender equality in its company, from recruitment and advancement to retainment and equal pay.

Benioff believes this effort should be emulated by other company executives, and he sees no reason to turn a blind eye to this persistent problem. “CEOs with one button on one computer can pay every man and every woman equally,” he stated. “We have the data. We know what everyone makes. There’s no excuse.”

Click here to read the full transcript.


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