Almost all stories about the gender wage gap start with one figure: On average, women earn 78 cents for every $1 a man earns. These stories usually end with a series of policy recommendations for how to close that persistent 22-cent gap. Solutions range from allowing flexible work hours and raising the minimum wage to banning salary negotiations and requiring companies to publicly report their wage gaps.
One company has decided on a more direct approach: just pay women more.
In a panel at a conference organized by Fortune last week, Marc Benioff, the CEO of the cloud-based software company Salesforce, said that he recently ordered a review of all 17,000 employees’ salaries to see if female employees’ pay was in line with those of male employees doing similar jobs. According to Fortune, Benioff said that the company is spending about $3 million extra this year on its payroll to make these adjustments. “We can say we pay women the same that we pay men,” he said the conference. “We looked at every single salary.”
What prompted this review was the allegation, made earlier this summer by Salesforce employees Cindy Robbins and Leyla Seka, that women at the company likely weren’t being paid as much as men. Benioff said he was initially skeptical, but commissioned an internal review anyway. Data on the compensation of employees in all departments at all levels of tenure apparently revealed Robbins and Seka’s suspicions to be warranted.