New York: THE CEO of Microsoft has caused outrage after telling women not to ask for a raise, advising them instead that they should stay quiet and just trust that they’ll get one.
Speaking at an event for women in computing in Phoenix, Arizona, Satya Nadella was asked to give his advice to women who are uncomfortable requesting a raise.
He replied that not asking for a raise was “good karma” and that staying shut and having faith in the system was a kind of superpower. “
“It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,” Nadella said in an interview at the event with Maria Klawe, the president of Harvey Mudd College and a Microsoft director.
“That might be one of the initial ‘super powers,’ that quite frankly, women [who] don’t ask for a raise have,” he added.
Not asking for a raise, he said, would help a boss realise that the employee could be trusted and should have more responsibility.
‘‘It’s good karma. It will come back,” he said.
Klawe, who was driving the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, drew cheers from the audience when she told him she disagreed and suggested women do their homework on salary information and practice asking for a raise with people they trust.
After being attacked on Twitter for his remarks, Nadella tweeted, “Was inarticulate regarding how women should ask for raise. Our industry must close gender pay gap so that a raise is not needed because of a bias.”
His comments have underlined why many see technology companies as workplaces that are hostile environments for women and minorities. Tech companies, particularly the engineering ranks, are overwhelmingly male, white and Asian. Only 29 per cent of the general Microsoft workforce is female, according to figures the Redmond, Washington-based company released earlier this month. Its technical and engineering staff and its management are just 17 per cent female.
Criticised for their lack of diversity, major companies say they are trying to address the problem with programs such as employee training sessions and by participating in initiatives meant to introduce girls to coding.