Marc Benioff’s Goals for Women Are a Priceless Lesson In Virtue Signaling

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced some startling changes at Salesforce in order to rectify problems between male and female pay gaps. Excellent. Except there are some things that have not yet been addressed.

1. Benioff said regarding pay discrepancies: “It was everywhere,” Benioff admitted in a 60 Minutes interview. “It was through the whole company, every department, every division, every geography.”

How does it get this way and how do you solve that?  A spokeswoman for Salesforce said, in an email to me, that they approached the pay difference as follows:

“We solve for any unexplained differences between both women and men, as well as race and ethnicity in the U.S. And if there are, we make adjustments as needed.

The wage gap is a complex problem, and there is no single cause of pay inequality. There are many variables and socio-cultural factors that play into these discrepancies that are beyond the control of one organization, department or person. What we’re trying to do through our regular audits is negate these factors as best as possible.

Within a business, there is a cause of pay inequality. And that is terrible HR. Who is getting fired over this?

To keep reading, click here: Marc Benioff’s Goals for Women Are a Priceless Lesson In Virtue Signaling

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12 thoughts on “Marc Benioff’s Goals for Women Are a Priceless Lesson In Virtue Signaling

  1. Pay discrepancies are not always the fault of HR. Some companies have policies — which are now coming into disfavor — basing new hires’ compensation on their salary history, which perpetuates the effects of prior discrimination. Some organizations have pay scales for the various positions — which may be discriminatory — but are established by management, not HR. HR administers the policies adopted by management, but doesn’t — usually — make those policies.

    1. And since women typically earn less than men on average, especially women of color, the previous salary policies tend to affect them disproportionately.
      Ending the stupid things would help somewhat.

  2. “It was everywhere,” Benioff admitted in a 60 Minutes interview. “It was through the whole company, every department, every division, every geography.”

    He sounds utterly clueless about his own company.

    1. He sounds like someone who was willing to take a hard look at his own company’s practices and how they impacted equity issues, and not just coast on assumptions and good intentions.

  3. I’m happy to see virtue signalling as long as change doesn’t stop there. It beats sweeping the problem under the rug, as has been done for so many years. It’s a first step toward real change, isn’t it? And the next step is for someone like you to point out where it falls short, as you have done.

  4. Averages only make sense on average. When you are the manager of just a couple of people, you never have a representative distribution, and people are all different. These are the managers making hiring decisions and handing out raises. You can do some things to minimize unconscious bias, but there is no way to really ensure that you are doing a good job. If a highly qualified male candidate negotiates aggressively on salary, is it doing an injustice to the average to pay him what you need to close the deal, even if it’s just a few thousand dollars extra? The one easy (“free”) trick I’ve found is to always include more than one female candidate in the interview pool (see: Ok, this just helps women get hired, and doesn’t necessarily help in compensation fairness.

  5. Seems less like “virtual signaling” than concrete steps to try to correct the problem to me. Are those steps perfect? Probably not. Might they have to change/adapt/abandon some of them down the road? I hope so. I hope they keep at it. As a response to institutionalized inequity, imperfect certainly beats “concern trolling”

  6. It’s not perfect but it’s a step in the right direction. I’ve only heard positive things about the Salesforce work culture, it sounds like a pretty good employer.

    1. Salesforce is listed as one of Forbes top 10 companies to work for every year. I think he’s doing the right thing; just making it better.

  7. I’m confused. You seem very focused on assigning blame and “who is getting fired” and not very focused on correcting systemic injustice. I’m not convinced that this is 2 or 3 malicious or ignorant compensation staff, I think this is a company-wide pattern of hiring more men in higher-paid positions and rewarding them with more raises and promotions. How do you correct the underlying assumptions that men are more capable and their work is worth more? You seem more concerned that women aren’t given a free ride.

    1. Because the entire job of the compensation department is to ensure that everyone is paid a fair, market rate. If women are being paid less for the same jobs, then the compensation department is allowing it and they suck at their jobs. They should be terminated.

  8. Good piece on ghosting .. I remember years ago, Forbes magazine GHOSTED me! They interviewed me for hours, asked me if I had any good story ideas .. then TOOK those story ideas (saw them incorporated in a later issue) and disappeared !

    Amazing .. right??!

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