Chief Executive of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, had to apologize to his staff after he said that women shouldn’t ask for a pay raise and should instead depend on the system for it. The CEO took charge of the company in February after Steve Ballmer and had told a conference, which was organized for celebrating women in the technology world, that it was ‘good karma’ for women not to ask for a pay rise in their business. Maria Klawe, an academic and member of the Microsoft board had posed a question about women’s pay, which is a highly debated issue in the tech world as it is dominated by men and Mr. Nadella made this gaffe.
Ms. Klawe clearly said that she disagreed with the response of her boss at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing even, which triggered cheers from the attendees and initiated a storm on Twitter against the CEO of the software company. Mr. Nadella has been working with the tech giant for the last 22 years and became CEO this year. As an apology for his earlier statement, he sent out an email to all of his employees stating that he hadn’t answered the question correctly. He added that he was in full support of programs that brought women in the tech world and closed the gender pay gap.
He said that he believed in equality and didn’t encourage gender discrimination. Whoever feels they deserve a pay raise shouldn’t hesitate in asking for it. His comments at the conference in Phoenix, Arizona had proven to be inflammatory because it had only been last week when his company reported that 30% of its global workforce is female. The total number of employees of Microsoft is about 100,000 and this 70 to 30 ratio is considered as normal among other similar tech companies including Facebook, Google and Yahoo.
Last year, a research that was undertaken by the American Association of University was published. It showed that women were given 78% of the pay that was received by men who were equally qualified. However, some data suggests that this pay gap isn’t the same in the case of the technology sector. This firestorm against the comments of Microsoft’s CEO isn’t doing any favors for the company because it is already struggling to maintain its position in the extremely competitive and cutting edge tech industry.
In the past few years, the company has seen a dramatic fall in its market share. It was this decline that forced the first chief executive of the company and its founder, Bill Gates, to come back and work in the company. Some female analysts appreciated the fact that Mr. Nadella immediately realized his misstep and retracted. They were of the opinion that male counterparts had to be given the chance to learn and grow and to ensure that the conversation moves forward. Therefore, this sort of reaction isn’t deserved. Even Ms. Klawe said that despite the backlash, Mr. Nadella was ready to return to the conference in the upcoming years.