‘Salesforce not afraid of making investments in equality’

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on March 11, 2020

To date, the firm has spent a total of over $10.3 million to ensure equal pay for equal work, says Edweena Stratton

Though women have made tremendous strides moving into jobs previously done almost exclusively by men, there appears to be very little progress in the gender integration of work. This persistent segregation, especially at technology and IT companies, has been termed a primary contributor to the lack of progress in closing the wage gap.

Not so at Salesforce, a cloud computing service that specialises in customer relationship management (CRM).

“We promote gender equality in the workplace by empowering, supporting and investing in our global community. Equality is a core value at Salesforce, and one of the most powerful examples of this is our ongoing commitment to equal pay. To date, Salesforce has spent a total of over $10.3 million to ensure equal pay for equal work,” Edweena Stratton, Vice-President of Employee Success, Salesforce APAC, told BusinessLine, on the sidelines of a conference.

Noting that the company constantly works towards eliminating bias throughout virtually all stages of the employee journey — from the initial interview, through onboarding and training, including the departure of the employee, Stratton maintains, “Salesforce is not afraid of making investments in equality.”

Salesforce has four offices in India: Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Delhi. Currently, the company supports nine separate diversity networks, the first being the Women’s Network which is a community which helps drive awareness around gender equality. Others include Outforce, organisers of many LGBTQ+ community marches, and AbilityForce that focusses on ability inclusion for employees and customers.

PwC report

Stratton insists the positives of gender diversity in the workforce has been quantified by a number of studies, and that there is a growing need for tech firms to address how their culture could be adversely affecting the participation of female employees in the tech ecosystem.

Underscoring the disparity, a PwC report — Women in Work Index — states women employed in the technology industry earn 18 per cent less than their male counterparts and suggests more work needs to be done to address the gender pay gap. The report notes that women make up 23 per cent of the boards in technology, media and communications in the G7 countries.

Stratton maintains there are several benefits to increasing the number of women in the workforce: “higher productivity, increased ability to attract and retain talent, greater creativity, innovation, and the ability to better gauge consumer interest and demand.”

As for women leaders, “There is an increasing need for female leadership to help achieve a truly balanced workforce across the technology industry. Female leaders and women on boards leads to greater creativity, and provides a broader view when making key decisions,” notes the executive.

The PwC report outlined some of the challenges faced by women in the technology sector, such as gender biases, often stemming from the lack of female role models, which could also be attributed to women not having “the same access to core, creative technical roles as men.”

Researchers also found that women tended to lack the necessary technical knowledge, such as STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills and numeracy, “despite no gender differences in ability for learning these skills,” suggesting that the reason behind this might be cultural.

Concurring with this view, Stratton said, “While there has been an overall increase in the number of women entering STEM disciplines globally, retaining talent in large enterprises still remains a challenge. With the changing nature of work, coupled with current and future skill shortages, it is imperative for enterprises to enforce and deploy strategic decisions to develop their organisations into a workplace with talented women and men.”

Published on March 11, 2020

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