Salesforce CEO Re-emphasizes Equal Pay Initiative

By Paula Bernier

Establishing company culture – and the important practices and processes that go along with that – is a journey, not a destination. CEO Marc Benioff said as much recently in noting that Salesforce needs to review its practices on this front periodically to ensure women and men get equal pay for equal work at the company.

The need for regular compensation practice reviews is necessary in part, Benioff recently told Fortune magazine, because Salesforce has done several acquisitions. Each time it purchases another company Salesforce adopts that company’s culture and practices – at least for a short time.

As a result, he said, it’s important for Salesforce, which about 14 months ago said it had adjusted employee compensation to eliminate a gender pay gap, to continue to make further adjustments as it snaps up more companies.

And Salesforce is snapping up plenty of other businesses these days. Last year alone, Salesforce acquired 13 companies, Fortune reports. That included e-commerce company Demandware, messaging company HeyWire, work processing app Quip, and sales rep software provider Steelbrick.

While the idea that women who do the same job as men in this day and age would receive lower compensation for their work than their male counterparts might seem hard to believe, it’s real, even at some companies that would seem to be very modern. For example, earlier this month it was revealed that the Labor Department is suing Oracle, saying the Silicon Valley giant has been paying white men more than others in the same positions.

And a  Jan. 10 Time magazine article authored by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Heidi Hartmann, an economist and president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, provides some statistics about the wage gap and urges the new presidential administration to act to correct them.

The Time magazine story notes that women earn just 80 percent of what men do. And it said that IWPR statistics indicate that if we eliminated the pay gap, women’s average annual earning would have been $482 billion higher in 2014. IWPR also said that closing the pay gap would yield an average benefit of $6,551 per working woman, and the poverty rate among working women would be cut from 8.2 percent to 4 percent.

“If President-elect Trump is serious about helping working families thrive, he should start by following through on promises he made during the campaign to strengthen equal-pay laws so that they carry real penalties for companies that break the law,” Hartmann and Maloney wrote.

The went on to suggest that the new president also “should raise the minimum wage and eliminate the tipped minimum wage so that low-wage workers—the majority of whom are women—can start bringing home a living wage.”

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