Microsoft CEO: women shouldn’t ask for pay rises, but should trust “the system”

If there’s one system that is obviously not working, it is the pay system that means that men in the US earn 17.7% more than their female counterparts.

In the UK the problem is worse, with an 18.2% difference in favour of men.

But women shouldn’t be so bold as to ask for fair pay, according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

During an event about women in computing, Nadella responded to a question from his interviewer Maria Klawe, the president of Harvey Mudd College and a Microsoft director, on how women should address pay rises.

“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,” he said, adding that not asking for a raise was “good karma” and showed bosses that the employee could be trusted and therefore should have more responsibility.

Following a large and righteous backlash, Nadella later revised his opinion on the matter, 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.”

He went on to email all Microsoft staff to admit that he had “answered the question completely wrong”

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.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Anonymous

    Wonderful to see the CEO taken to task by a fellow board member. As Marie, a lifelong advocate of no gender discrimination, has said “It doesn’t matter what you look like. What matters is what you have to contribute.” So are equivalent women paid about 80% of the male rate in Microsoft?

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