Marc Benioff Wants Women to Have Equal Pay and Opportunity at Salesforce
Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, has laid out a plan to ensure equal pay and equal hiring at the global cloud-based software company.
Women Surge, a new program he's instating, is aimed filling gendered gaps in pay and Salesforce's team, as well as pushing women into other opportunities such as leadership positions and important meetings.
"My job is to make sure that women are treated 100 percent equally at Salesforce in pay, opportunity and advancement," Benioff said. "When I'm done there will be no gap." He added that thus far, he's given some of the women in his company raises, but he's not done. "I expect to be giving a lot more," he said.
Benioff was shocked when he examined his own company and found that gender-based wage gaps existed. He is now taking steps that have been called both "radical" and "brilliantly simple" to guarantee that all of his employees are compensated fairly and equally, and he's taking it upon himself to personally ensure the entire 16,000 person work force is paid equally.
Benioff is also interested in the gender makeup of his company. Currently, only 29 percent of Salesforce employees are female, and in leadership roles that percentage shrinks to just 15. "We have to take the goal of 50-50," he said. "There has to be a goal. This should be a metric that every CEO manages." Now, Salesforce is putting quotas on the number of women present for meetings, making sure women are equally considered for promotions, and deliberately including women speakers and leaders in its annual Dreamforce event, a nation-wide tech conference.
A dearth of women in the tech field is not unique to Salesforce. In the tech industry, women are largely outnumbered by their male co-workers. At Google, Apple, and Twitter alike, the percentage of female employees remains around 30.
Democratic women in the Senate have been raising the alarm on unequal pay, pushing for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would greatly lessen the gender pay gap experience by women in the workforce, as well as prevent retaliation against women seeking pay parity. The PFA, introduced in the Senate in 2013, has since been blocked by Republicans in the Senate more than once.
Senator Rosa DeLauro, one of the leaders for this bill, spoke on her frustration in the minimal improvements to lessen the gender pay gap since the Equal Pay Act passed more than 50 years ago. "The gap has barely budged in over a decade," DeLauro said. "It's not an abstract problem, and it hurts people on a daily basis." DeLauro cited specifically a study released in March, which showed that even in the female-dominated profession of nursing, men make significantly more than women.
Media Resources: Fortune 4/24/15; Washington Post 4/27/15; Huffington Post 4/23/15; Feminist Newswire 4/14/15; 1/24/15; 9/16/14; USA Today 3/25/15