EVEN A “BEST PLACE TO WORK” CAN HAVE A GENDER PAY DISPARITY, SAYS SALESFORCE CEO MARC BENIOFF, WHOSE COMPANY HAS BRIDGED THE GAP, ON “60 MINUTES” THIS SUNDAY
To Maintain Equal Pay, Firms Need to Commit to a Constant Monitoring Process
When multi-billion dollar company Salesforce discovered it had a gender pay disparity in 2016, Fortune magazine had ranked the Silicon Valley giant among the best companies to work for in America. Today, the company ranks #1 on that list and has bridged the pay gap between its male and female employees. But its CEO, Marc Benioff, warns that maintaining that equality is a constant and costly process companies need to commit to in order to create real and lasting change. Lesley Stahl reports on the gender pay gap in the American workplace on the next edition of 60 MINUTES Sunday, April 15 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Benioff has become a leader in the quest to narrow the gender pay gap in the corporate world, where women currently make 20 percent less than men on average. He views equal pay as part of the larger goal of women in the workplace having the same opportunities as men, in jobs and advancement, and being free from sexual harassment – it’s a part of the #MeToo movement, he says. “This is part of a total package…You can’t look at one of these things independent of the other. All these things together are gender equality,” he tells Stahl.
Not all corporate leaders are on board, says Benioff. “I’ve had CEOs call me and say, ‘This is not true. This is not real.’ And I’ll say to them, ‘This is true. Look at the numbers.’” Benioff himself wasn’t convinced at first. In 2015 he was skeptical that a pay audit would show a disparity at Salesforce, but it did. He had to spend $3 million on raises for women to erase that gap.
Maintaining the equality is a constant battle. After Salesforce acquired other firms, another pay audit revealed the gap had returned. He paid another $3 million in raises to fix it. “We’re going to have to do this continuously…constantly monitor and keep track of that…But that’s easy today. We run our company the same way every company is run, with computers and technology and software,” Benioff says. “CEOs with one button on one computer can pay every man and every woman equally. We have the data.”
“This is part of who I have become as a leader, that I believe as a CEO that I can show other CEOs how to create a great culture in their company,” Benioff says. “You can’t be a great CEO and say that I’m not committed to gender equality today.”
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