Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff Puts His Company’s Money Where His Mouth Is

Speaking at the Fortune Global Forum earlier this week, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff revealed that he spent about $3 million this year to bring the salaries of female employees up to the level of their male counterparts. “We can say we pay women the same that we pay men—we looked at every single salary,” said Benioff. While $3 million may seem like chump change for a company that’s currently worth nearly $52 billion, Benioff’s willingness to put his—or rather, Salesforce’s—money where his mouth is champions the fight for pay equity. Indeed, even as companies have become more open about their diversity gaps—with many now releasing annual data about how many women and minorities they employ—their gender pay gaps, for the most part, remain shrouded in mystery. (Fortune)

This is not a surprising tack for Benioff, who is a huge advocate for social justice. Benioff is known for inventing the 1:1:1 corporate charity model, where companies give away 1% of their equity, 1% of their employees’ time, and 1% of their product to charity. He’s also donating $200 million of his own money to build a children’s hospital in San Francisco. And he’s badgering other Valley companies to give more to their communities, particularly those in his home town of San Francisco. Lately, though, he’s moved beyond philanthropy into social justice. Earlier this year, he helped bring down some state laws that could have encouraged discrimination against gay people by publicly calling them out as bad for business. (Business Insider)

“I’m not a millennial, but it’s a millennial view of the world,” Benioff told The New York Times, about his social focus. “Millennials want meaning in work. They want to feel like they improve the state of the world. The only way you get trust is through transparency. I won’t use your product if I don’t trust you. It’s true inside a company, too.”

While Salesforce has yet to reveal its wage gap, the fact that Benioff says the company has actually started putting more money into the pockets of underpaid women makes it unique, Fortune said. Looking at biases that play into hiring and promotions and putting more women into senior roles, are vital steps toward resolving the problem in the long term.


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