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:
Was inarticulate re how women should ask for raise. Our industry must close gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of a bias #GHC14
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) October 9, 2014
He further went on to address his employees in a memo, in which he said he answered the question incorrectly.
“Toward the end of the interview, Maria asked me what advice I would offer women who are not comfortable asking for pay raises. I answered that question completely wrong.
“Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work.
“And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”
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