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Women shouldn't ask for pay rises, they should 'have faith': Microsoft boss

But the CEO’s comments didn’t go down so well…

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Image: Manish Swarup/AP/Press Association Images

WOMEN WORKING FOR tech companies who want pay raises should keep quiet and have faith that “the system” will deliver the wages they deserve, the boss of Microsoft has said.

Satya Nadella, the $385 billion (€303 billion) software giant’s recently-appointed chief executive, told a Phoenix conference for women in computing that not asking for pay rises was “good karma” that would “come back”.

“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.

“That might be one of the initial ‘super powers,’ that … women who don’t ask for a raise have.”

Nadella had been asked to give advice to any women who were uncomfortable asking for more money from their employers.

Sorry about that

But the Indian-born executive quickly retreated from his comments after a public backlash, apologising to the company’s staff and via Twitter after making the comments.

In an email to employees, he admitted he “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,” he said.

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, (the conference host’s) advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”

A shrinking gap

A survey last year from US tech careers site Dice found the pay gap between men and women in the industry had largely “disappeared” – although male workers were still paid nearly 10% more on average.

It said the difference was driven by men and women taking on different jobs, and a larger share of the females surveyed were happy with their incomes – despite getting less.

But earlier studies have found women were massively under-represented in the highest-paying jobs, with about 30% of IT companies reporting they had no women working in management.

READ: More staff shown the door at Microsoft, though Irish workers should be safe

READ: Gender pay gap in Ireland still ‘unacceptably’ wide

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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