Elon Musk may audit staff salaries to ensure equality

1 Mar 2016

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX

Following in the footsteps of Salesforce, Elon Musk may be about to audit SpaceX and Tesla salaries to ensure equal pay among men and women.

Musk, who is founder and chief executive of both SpaceX and Tesla, has said he will audit his employees’ salaries to see if there is any discrepancy in pay between genders – something Salesforce, for example, did last year.

Speaking at a benefit in the US – hosted by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, incidentally – Musk initially said that he’d “think about it” when asked by Huffington Post about the topic.

Future Human

But, when Benioff himself asked Musk about it, the conversation advanced somewhat. “Principles of fairness and justice are what matter,” Musk said. “I was asked tonight if we would audit pay. We will do that.”

Following a company-wide review last year – in the wake of criticism from its female employees – Salesforce spent $3m to adjust its salary sheet, providing equal pay to women and men throughout the company.

“We believe very strongly in equality,” said Benioff at the time. “Equal rights for employees, and equal pay for women is critical.

“We looked at every single one of our female employee salaries and adjusted it against all of our male employee salaries.”

At the benefit with Musk, Benioff noted how any such review can be “scary for a CEO”, due to the fear that an adjustment could place a heavy financial burden on a company.

Regardless, he made the decision last year and Salesforce is a better working environment because of it, he said.

Should Musk follow through with his statement at both SpaceX and Tesla, they could be better soon, too.

Elon Musk image via Bill Brooks on Flickr

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic