Arundhati Bhattacharya Speaks about Need for Diversity and Women Leadership in the Industry

Arundhati Bhattacharya the CEO of Salesforce, shared her view on women empowerment, leadership, and the need for diversity in the industry.

Punam Singh
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Arundhati Bhattacharya

Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson and CEO, Salesforce, shared her views on women empowerment, leadership, and the need for diversity in the industry during a media interaction at the Salesforce Trailblazers Together Event in Delhi.


"Diversity is something that's very close to our hearts. Close to my heart and close to everybody's heart. And we have very specific diversity goals in the company. So actually speaking, we are one of the few companies where people from my level and above don't get paid 10% of our variable if we don't reach the diversity goals. So they're trying to really make it something serious. And by the way, we have to reach it across the world. Only my region, reaching diversity goals is not enough. So there's a lot of peer pressure as well in order to arrive at those diversity goals. So what are we doing in order to achieve that? First and foremost, we are making sure that we are training people for what we call unconscious bias," said Arundhati Bhattacharya while mentioning unconscious bias followed while running an organization.

She further emphasized the matter and said, "You have to first and foremost ensure that people understand that they are biased and then deliberately set that bias aside in order to ensure that those diversity goals are met in the right way. Because it's not only a question of recruitment, it's also a question of how you uplift those people through the ranks. Right?"

"So we have to be very very conscious about the fact that diversity is something that needs to be followed through action," she added.


Arundhati also spoke on the matter of female recruitment in the industry and empowering women in the digital sphere."Regarding recruitment itself, we have done a lot of work in order to ensure that more and more STEM graduates believe that there is a good career in STEM for women. Earlier I believe, even though 45% of women were actually opting for STEM in the schools, that number would come down in the colleges, and by the time we got the number of people available for jobs, it would come down to 28%," she said explaining the numbers why there not so many women leaders in the industry to look upon.

"Today, the leader of our enterprise team is a woman. Our CEO is a woman. The leader of our fins team is a woman. So we've managed to also get people at the upper echelons. Because unless you do that, the people at the bottom don't have role models. They do not aspire to something. So diversity, I can still say that we have a long way to go. Especially this is true of our technology teams and somewhat true of our sales teams," she said.

She further went on to add the efforts they have been putting forward to attain diversity and promote women's empowerment from their end. She explained about their Return to Work Program for people who have taken a career break due to some reason but now want to retain their position in the workforce.

She said "One of the things that we are doing in India, specifically, is the return to work program. So the return to work program basically looks at people who have left the work stream for two years or more, and then retrains them so that they can join the workforce again. So we have just started the third cohort. The first two cohorts have already been done. And this is specifically for women. And we find a lot of young women leave the workforce for some reason or the other, maybe family reasons, childbearing, or someone sick in the family, or whatever. And that is yet another program that we are doing in order to ensure that there are more and more diverse hires. So there are a number of initiatives that we are keeping in order to ensure that we are, in the area of education, for instance, where we meet some of these provisions, we try and ensure that we are trying to improve safe education amongst women from the categories that are economically different. So we spread not that as well, so as to bring the markets forward. So there is a lot that we have a long way to go. We are not there yet. So there is work to be done."