Salesforce APAC CMO: we spent $3m on gender pay parity last year

Salesforce is increasing its commitment to gender equality

Salesforce has undertaken a significant commitment to equality, according to APAC CMO Wendy Johnstone, putting its money where its mouth is on the gender wage gap.

Speaking to the Drum, Johnstone, who is also the executive sponsor for diversity initiatives at Salesforce in the Asia Pacific region, said the key to success with gender initiatives has been having buy-in from the top.

“I am lucky to work for an organisation like Salesforce that really champions this at the top of the organisation. We’ve now got a core value around equality and we’ve got a lot of programmes, particularly around this area of gender diversity that we have rolled out at global level. We’ve done a pay parity study and looked at salaries to make sure they are on par. It went across 17,000 employees and we found we had 6% where we needed to make an adjustment. We found some challenges, not just with female pay but male too and we spent about $3m globally to make the adjustments. We’ve committed to doing that annually,” she explained.

Johnstone’s role in this diversity drive is to translate it locally. She said that a lot of it was around small things like changing the language in job ads or ensuring women were present and involved in hiring new staff.

She said a key issue within many businesses is ironing out unconscious bias and the Salesforce tactic is to put staff on training across the globe. The business has rolled out a people managers workshop series and given management teams tools on how to deal with it and call it out in constructive ways.

Particular to APAC, Johnstone says there’s a real lack of role models. “There is an absence of role models. Young women are looking up to role models and to people to inspire them. We’ve done some great programmes here in Singapore around encouraging girls into STEM. We are working with local schools and organisations like UN Women to attract them in and connect them with role models in Salesforce,” she explained.

The commitment to equality comes alongside wider objectives at Salesforce around ‘improving the world.' The company has hired an equality officer and is upping the ante around sustainability.

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