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Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, is on a socially progressive mission to promote workplace diversity in technology, by transforming his own organization. In a speech at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Houston in 2016, Benioff told female technologists in the audience that everyone must do something to improve diversity throughout the industry and Saleforce, currently No. 19 in Fortune’s 2018 Best Workplaces for Diversity is leading the way.

IT’s track record

Women participation in IT roles has declined over the past few decades. According to The National Center for Women & Information Technology, women made up 25% of the IT workforce in 2015 down from 35% in the 1990s.

At Facebook, Google and Twitter, women make up 25% to 30% of the workforce (20% in technology roles) — compared to 47% of the national overall.

The National Center for Education Statistics reported that computer science degrees awarded to women dropped from over 37% in the mid-1980s to 18% in 2018.

Lighting platform to reduce development barriers

Salesforce recently unveiled its upgraded Force/Lightning PaaS which is capable of no-code app creation from spreadsheets as well as a no-code workflow builder. The platform aims to allow anyone interested to be an app developer even if they are not computer science graduates or have coding certificates.  

How is Salesforce, diversity-wise?

Diversity-wise, Salesforce still has a lot of work to do. According to the Prophet’s equality report, only around 30% of the company’s is female as of December 2018.  At its executive level, about 20% are women.  Minority groups make up about 10% of the workforce.

However, Salesforce is taking action to improve diversity as almost half of new hires were either women or minority. In addition, the current 13-member board of the company has three minority and three female members.

According to an International Data Corporation (IDC) study in 2018, companies using Lightning for app development were having productivity gains and revenue benefits of close to $9 million and a 63% faster lifecycle. The data suggests that more nontechnical thinkers are trying to be app developers. Salesforce is leading the way to the democratization of app design and development. The capability allows not just ethnic and gender diversity but cognitive diversity as well.