Salesforce billionaire Marc Benioff says the company spent $3 million this year to fix its pay problem

Salesforce CEO and cofounder Marc Benioff said his company spent approximately $US3 million this year to match female employees’ salaries to those of their male counterparts.

“We believe in equal rights for our employees,” Benioff said at the Fortune Global Forum earlier this week.

“We looked at every single one of our female employees’ salaries, and we adjusted it against all of our male employees’ salaries,” the CEO explained. “We can say we pay women the same as we pay men.”

Benioff announced his committment to the effort back in April, and since then the company has been working towards ensuring that women and men in the company were paid 100% equally.

Salesforce’s executive vice president of Global Employee Success Cindy Robbins wrote on the company blog in September that Salesforce was assessing the compensation of more than 17,000 employees, 30% of whom are female, and that paying equally was an ongoing process.

During a CNN interview in June, Benioff said he wished he could go back in time and make achieving women’s equality at work a goal to Salesforce’s founding agenda. “Looking back 16 years, that was as big an issue as the philanthropy issue is for me now,” he said at the time.

Salesforce’s pay parity comes at a time in the US when women earn significantly less than men.

After comparing more than 1.4 million salary profiles of men and women working the same jobs, PayScale calculates that women earn 2.7% less — or 97 cents on the dollar — than men with similar characteristics working the same jobs. Overall, when comparing all men to all women, women earn 25.6% of what men earn, or 74 cents on the dollar.

“This [issue] is not something we’re trying to own ourselves,” Robbins told Forbes in September. “We want other companies to take notice of it and do something about it.”

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