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Salesforce’s C-level people officer has explained how the company achieved the gender gap closing in the original article by Business Insider

On Tuesday at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference, Salesforce Chief People Officer Cindy Robbins shared the story of how her company became committed to equal pay for its employees.

  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was initially surprised by Robbins’ request, but ultimately he agreed.
  • Over the last three years, Salesforce has paid around $8.7 million to close its gender pay gap.
  • “Unless you have flawless systems and flawless processes, you’re going to have to run the audit every single year,” Robbins explained. “This was not a one-and-done thing.”
  • Robbins says Salesforce’s effort around equal pay is a call to action for other companies to start doing the same.

On Tuesday at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference, SalesforcePresident and Chief People Officer Cindy Robbins shared the story of how the cloud software company became committed to equal pay for its employees. It’s a story that she first brought to the public’s attention on 60 minutes earlier this year.

Robbins said it started around 2014 when CEO Marc Benioff held his quarterly meeting with 60 to 70 top executives at Salesforce — and realized there were hardly any women in the room. Benioff knew there were strong female leaders within the company, and decided that moving forward. at least 30% of attendees to that meeting would be women.

“He gave us a seat at the table,” Robbins remembers. “Our job was to stay invited to those meetings — which we did.”

Robbins rose the ranks at Salesforce and became the head of human relations — or officially, Chief People Officer. Soon after the promotion, she starting thinking: “Why isn’t easier for women to elevate at Salesforce?”


Robbins (second from the right) teamed up with Leyla Seka (far right), an executive VP, and formed a list of how to help women grow in their careers at Salesforce. Equal pay was a concept they could not ignore. Robbins and Seka met with Benioff and — without any data — said they wanted to investigate whether Salesforce had a pay gap between men and women.

Benioff was surprised at the request given the efforts he and his team had made to make Salesforce a place of equal opportunity and benefits. But ultimately he agreed and supported the initiative.

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