Subscribe

login / sign up

close and back to page

Latest News

Latest News

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.

Oracle Underpaid People of Color and Women by More Than $400M: Department of Labor

Oracle's "suppression of pay for its non-white, non-male employees is so extreme that it persists and gets worse over long careers," according to a federal filing.

YOUTUBE

The U.S. Department of Labor, in a federal filing on Tuesday, accused Oracle of underpaying thousands of people of color and women employees by more than $400 million. Employees with years of experience are paid as much as 25 percent less than their white male peers.

Read More Show Less

Serena Williams' 'Wakanda' Catsuit Approved by Women's Tennis Association​

The WTA's new rule modifications also offer more protection to players on maternity leave.

TWITTER

Serena Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion, is considered the best player in the history of tennis. So, the unnecessary obstacles Williams has to face in her career are seemingly serving as teachable moments for the tennis world.

Read More Show Less

Sodexo's Rohini Anand: We Want to Have Diverse Leadership Styles that Women Bring to the Table

Anand, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer at Sodexo discusses the importance of companies having an inclusive culture where women can ask for prmotions and not get penalized.

Ayanna Pressley Tweets Epic Photo of New Congresswomen

Pressley gives a shoutout to fellow Democrats who are making history in Congress.

REUTERS

Ayanna Pressley, the first Black woman to be elected to Congress in Massachusetts' history, posted a photo on Twitter on Thursday night that's since gotten more than 27,000 likes.

Read More Show Less

Obama to Trump: We're Supposed to Stand up to Discrimination and to Nazi Sympathizers

To voters: You can make sure that white nationalists don't feel empowered to march in Charlottesville in the middle of the day.

CLICK ON DETRIOT

Former President Barack Obama kicked off his campaigning for November's midterms, on Friday afternoon, and took jabs at President Trump and the spineless backbones of his Republican constituents.

Obama spared no expense rebuking the administration's actions that have emboldened racists.

Read More Show Less

Citing Trump, Some Republican Women to Vote Democratic in Ohio Election

In interviews with a dozen women, mostly Republicans, in the Midwestern state's 12th Congressional District, several said they would buck their voting habits to support the Democratic candidate on Aug. 7.

Democratic candidate Danny O'Connor meets with campaign volunteers ahead of a special election in Ohio's 12th congressional district in Dublin, Ohio, U.S., July 15, 2018. / REUTERS

(Reuters) — Becky von Zastrow often votes Republican in her affluent central Ohio suburb — but her dissatisfaction with U.S. President Donald Trump has convinced her to back the Democrat in a special-election test for both parties next month.

Read More Show Less