Microsoft CEO apologises for saying women should trust ‘karma’ rather than seek raises

10 Oct 2014

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Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has issued a memo to employees, apologising for remarks he made during an interview yesterday. He had said women in the tech sector should not ask for raises but instead trust karma.

During an interview at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Phoenix, Arizona, yesterday, Nadella answered a question about female tech workers seeking pay raises.

“It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,” Nadella told interviewer Maria Klawe, a computer scientist and president of Harvey Mudd College.

Nadella suggested female tech workers have “faith in the system”, that good things come to those who wait (or rather, who don’t ask).

“That might be one of the initial ‘super powers’ that, quite frankly, women (who) don’t ask for a raise have,” he said. “It’s good karma. It will come back.”

Those words no doubt have rankled many in the US, where women are typically paid 78pc as much as men.

No sooner had Nadella said those words than he immediately took to Twitter and tweeted:

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com