Salesforce CEO Benioff discussed women's pay with Trump at White House meeting


Marc Benioff, co-founder and chief executive officer of Salesforce.com Inc., center, arrives to a news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump and Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, not pictured, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, March 17, 2017.
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Marc Benioff, co-founder and chief executive officer of Salesforce.com Inc., center, arrives to a news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump and Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, not pictured, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, March 17, 2017.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said he used a meeting at the White House on Friday to discuss the importance of bringing women into the workforce and paying them equally.

"We also had the chance to talk about gender equality, and the ability to bring all the women into the workforce, and pay women the same as men," Benioff said in front of the White House on Friday.

Benioff has been a consistent advocate for equal pay for women, and Salesforce adjusted salaries of about 1,000 employees in 2015 to equalize them.

Friday's meeting brought together business leaders from German and U.S. companies, as President Donald Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. One big topic of the meeting was workplace training.

"I want to thank all the business leaders that have joined us to discuss a subject that's very important to me: Training our workforce for the 21st century, especially in respect to manufacturing jobs," Trump said. "Here in the United States, companies have created revolutionary high tech and online courses."

The meeting also included one of tech's most powerful women, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty.

President Donald Trump speaks, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence (L) and IBM CEO Virginia Marie 'Ginni' Rometty (R) during a roundtable discussion on vocational training with United States and German business leaders lead in the Cabinet Room of the White House on March 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.
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President Donald Trump speaks, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence (L) and IBM CEO Virginia Marie 'Ginni' Rometty (R) during a roundtable discussion on vocational training with United States and German business leaders lead in the Cabinet Room of the White House on March 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.

"We all just finished meeting with Chancellor Merkel and President Trump and had a good chance to talk about workforce development, and all the best projects and all the best programs in both of our countries," Rometty said outside the White House after the meeting ended.

In attendance was 19-year-old Janiel Richards, who graduated from IBM's P-Tech six-year high school and associated degree program and now works at IBM.

"I did not fully realize the weight of the opportunity I was given," Richards said. "I learned importance of understanding computers and gained skills in both coding and programming.... I learned that technology is omnipresent and opens endless doors."

Benioff said that technology companies are "some of the best universities in the world."

"We shape these employees, we train them, we educate them, we bring them in," Benioff said.

Benioff said that Salesforce, an enterprise technology company, hopes to create 2 million jobs through people that use the platform. He said if more companies come together and embrace vocational training, such as apprenticeships, he thinks the U.S. could reach a goal of 5 million new positions.

"As we're creating jobs all over the world, we see a great opportunity right here in the United States to create apprenticeships," Benioff said. "We would encourage you to take a moonshot goal to create 5 million apprenticeships in the next 5 years. And I think the key is, we see all these great programs and these great companies doing workforce development. If we all came together and unified to create a great program with your leadership, I think we can break that 5 million extra jobs in the U.S."