Microsoft CEO: Women Should Rely on 'Good Karma,' Not Ask for Raises

Satya Nadella puts his foot in his mouth during a conference celebrating women in computing. Read his entire comments here.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is under fire for his comments about working women, in an industry that already has a reputation as being woman unfriendly.


During the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Phoenix, Nadella was asked his advice for women who are uncomfortable asking for raises or putting themselves up for promotions or advanced opportunities.

"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. "That, I think, might be one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don't ask for a raise have. Because that's good karma. It'll come back because somebody's going to know that's the kind of person that I want to trust. That's the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to. And in the long-term efficiency, things catch up.

"And I wonder—and I'm not saying that that's the only approach—I wonder whether taking the long term helps solve for what might be perceived as this uncomfortable thing of, 'Hey, am I getting paid right?' 'Am I getting rewarded right?' Because the reality is, your best work is not followed with your best reward. Your best work then has impact, people recognize it, and then you get the rewards. So you have to somehow think that through, I think."

READ MORE: Ask the White Guy—Karma Is Not a Career Strategy

See Nadella's comments here, starting at the 1:35:05 mark.

When Nadella's interviewer, Dr. Maria Klawe—President of Harvey Mudd College, a computer scientist by trade and a member of Microsoft's board of directors—politely responded, "This is one of the very few things I disagree with you on," the crowd applauded.

Critics quickly took to Twitter, posting comments such as:

Nadella eventually apologized on his own Twitter feed:

He also sent an email to Microsoft employees in which he said he "answered the 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," he wrote. "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."

Microsoft recently released its workforce demographics, revealing that the company's global workforce is just 29 percent women. In tech positions, the number drops to 17.1 percent.

Moreover, only 17.3 percent of Microsoft's "leadership" positions are held by women. This compares with a U.S. workforce national average (Catalyst data) of 29 percent, a DiversityInc Top 50 average of 29.3 percent, and a DiversityInc Top 10 average of 32.3 percent.

Other tech companies that had fought for years to hide their workforce demographics started to finally release them publicly earlier this year, and most had roughly the same female representation as Microsoft. Google's global workforce includes just 21 percent women, while 30 percent of Apple and Twitter's employees are women, 31 percent of Facebook's and 37 percent of Yahoo!'s workforce.

Amongst leadership, all of these companies are also grossly underrepresented by women, but still outperform Microsoft (Google and Twitter: 21 percent, Yahoo! and Facebook: 23 percent, Apple: 28 percent). When it went public earlier this year, Twitter's entire board of directors were white men, and only one woman was counted amongst their investors and executive officers (Vijaya Gadde was hired as the company's general counsel just two months before the IPO release).

This is all the more shocking when you consider that women earn more than half of all college degrees in the United States, including 62 percent of associate's degrees, more than 57 percent of bachelor's degrees, nearly 63 percent of master's and more than 53 percent of doctoral degrees.

Tech companies, or companies with strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) workforce components that emphasize gender equity, have more inclusive cultures and better human-capital results, DiversityInc Top 50 data show. For example, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, No. 1 this year in the Top 50, has worked hard to improve gender equity in critical jobs. Christi Shaw, President, now has women in scientific functions as more than half of her direct reports.

Later this week, a story on DiversityInc Best Practices will detail how Top 50  companies with strong STEM workforces—including IBM, BASF and Monsanto—are hiring, retaining and promoting more women in technical jobs.

Research by Harvard University Professor of Economics Claudia Goldin shows that women in computer engineer, scientist or programmer jobs make anywhere from 84 percent to 90 percent of men in the same position, controlling for age, race, experience and education.

Famous Nevada Brothel Owner Wins GOP Primary

"Donald Trump was the Christopher Columbus for me," said creepy Dennis Hof.

YOUTUBE

An official pimp is now an official state assembly nominee in the Republican Party, which refers to itself as the party of family values.

Read More Show Less

Latino Kids Torn from Mothers' Arms While Ivanka Trump's Tweet Boasts of White Privilege

The administration of "family values" has created a narrative that immigrants are not moms or dads, only criminals.

TWITTER

Families fleeing dire situations are having their children torn from their arms due to a new "zero tolerance" Trump administration policy.

Presidential Adviser Ivanka Trump on Twitter boasted of cuddling her two-year-old son, Theodore. Many thousands decried the tweet as tone-deaf and a cruel comparison. The current immigration polices have emboldened U.S. border agents to take detained children from their parents.

Read More Show Less

Serena Williams on Postpartum Depression: 'It's a Part of Pregnancy'

After almost dying when giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, Williams is open about the struggle and triumphs of motherhood.

INSTAGRAM

Serena Williams is currently making her comeback at the French Open after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, nine months ago. With motherhood, Williams has become an advocate for women's health by sharing intimate details of her personal life including her struggle with postpartum depression.

Read More Show Less

White Officer Called Black Police Chief N-Word, Threatened to Beat Her to 'Death With a Banana'

Despite proof of a series of racist and threatening Facebook posts against Tiffany Tims, an Ohio officer hasn't been fired.

Screenshot from Facebook Messenger / WCMH NBC4

UPDATE May 30, 2018 at 10:38 p.m. ET:

On Wednesday night the Nelsonville City Council unanimously voted to fire police officer Joshua Braglin. The vote came during a city council meeting attended by numerous protesters.

ORIGINAL STORY

A white male police officer from Southeastern Ohio made racist and threatening Facebook posts against Hocking College Interim Police Chief Tiffany Tims, who is Black. Nelsonville Police Officer Joshua Braglin hasn't been fired. So, community organizers have scheduled a protest for Wednesday evening.

Read More Show Less

70 Percent of Irish Women Voted to Legalize Abortion in Ireland Creating Landslide Victory

A most conservative country when it comes to abortion rights begins to wake up to the logical conclusion that if your gender can't bear children, you should probably stop mansplaining and man-deciding.

Presiding Officer Carmel McBride prepares the polling station for the referendum on liberalizing abortion law . / REUTERS

UPDATE: May 26, 2018

Ireland has voted to repeal its abortion ban. The Irish Times exit poll suggested that women voted by 70 percent in favor of legalizing abortion.

ORIGINAL STORY

Ireland is one of Europe's most socially conservative countries, with one of the world's strictest bans on abortion. Residents went to the polls on Friday for a "once in a generation opportunity" to decide whether to liberalize or maintain the country's abortion laws.

For Americans, conservatives trying to control abortion rights using religion sound all too familiar.

Read More Show Less

Mastercard Reaffirmed Commitment for More Connected and Inclusive Cities

Mastercard collaborates with Microsoft for more connected cities.

At Smart Cities New York, Mastercard reaffirmed its commitment for more connected and inclusive cities, highlighting a new collaboration with Microsoft. The two global leaders for urban development will bring together their respective payment, data analytics and cloud technologies to create a global exchange, allowing cities to use economic insights in more integrated and efficient ways.

Read More Show Less