Why Salesforce is Investing Millions to Close the Gender Pay Gap

By: Joe Keenan

Equal pay for equal work seems like a pretty simplistic concept, but we all know that hasn’t been the case for far too many companies across a wide spectrum of verticals, including retail. It’s troubling that in 2015 we have to recognize companies that employ this standard. Stand up and take a bow for doing what should have been done since your company’s inception. But alas, that’s where we are right now.

Which leads me to Salesforce. Speaking at the Fortune Global Forum last week, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff revealed that the CRM software provider has spent about $3 million this year to ensure the salaries of female employees are commensurate with their male counterparts. While commendable, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the female employees at Salesforce weren’t throwing any parties. In fact, it’s much more likely that they were muttering to themselves, “What took so long?”

Gender pay gap is a problem that’s existed for too long. Fortunately, there are companies — including Salesforce, GoDaddy and PricewaterhouseCoopers — and leaders that are trying to right this wrong. However, those that choose to keep their hiring and salary practices a secret, further enabling situations such as gender pay gaps, outnumber the Saleforces of the world.

Truth be told, Salesforce has yet to reveal its wage gap (it’s planning to release details of its salary assessment in February), but taking the step of putting more money into the pockets of underpaid female employees is a good start. Looking at biases that impact hiring and promotions and putting more women into senior positions are vital steps toward resolving the problem of gender pay gap in the long run. For women who have already climbed the corporate ladder into good jobs — only to be paid less than their male counterparts — there’s an appreciation of the effort to fix the gap on an employee-by-employee basis.

“It’s a way to walk the talk,” said Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst at advisory services firm Enderle Group, in this Fortune article. “There’s a lot of emphasis and concern about disparity in salaries between men and women, and not a lot of progress in correcting the problem.”

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