Oh man! Literally. Just when we thought things were starting to progress, both for Microsoft and for women of the world, the CEO of Microsoft shocks us with a comment about women’s pay. His comment was in response to women who were uncomfortable asking for a raise in the workplace. His exact words: “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.”
Maybe his first mistake was saying this at an event for women in computing, as before he knew it, his comment was making headlines. Twitter was on fire with comments about the CEO, not to mention the comments that were appearing on blogs and other social media channels.
So, why is this upsetting? I mean he was giving advice, so he meant to help these women. Unfortunately, his advice just did not add up with the facts. The fact is that, in general, in the computer industry, tech companies have a higher rate of men hired than women. In addition to this, it is said that these women, and women in many other industries, are often paid less.
In fact, the interviewer at the event, Maria Klawe, who is president of Harvey Mudd College, and is employed as a director at Microsoft, was quick to correct the CEO. Her suggestion was that women research salary information and practice asking with people they trust.
If women were to trust the system, as perhaps they have done so far, who is to say that anything would actually change? In fact, up until now it has not changed that drastically (though there have definitely been improvements), otherwise this would be a blog post about just how successful we have been at bridging the gap between men and women in the workplace.
In the end, Nadella did issue an apology, acknowledging that the question was answered “completely wrong” and that “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.”
Do you think his apology is sufficient for reducing the negative reaction that people had?