In response to his shockingly unhelpful advice that women should not ask for raises and to trust that the corporation’s system and karmic super powers will grace them with a higher salary, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said he … misspoke.
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 #GHC14
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) October 9, 2014
During a keynote speech at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women In Computing, Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College and a Microsoft board member, asked Nadella what women who want to advance their careers but might be uncomfortable putting themselves up for it can do.
“It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,” Nadella told Klawe. “That might be one of the initial super powers that quite frankly women [who] don’t ask for a raise have. It’s good karma. It will come back.”
His response claiming his advice was inarticulate didn’t necessarily address the original question: What can women do?
The correct answer, of course, was provided by Klawe herself, who said women should ask for raises, and if they’re uncomfortable, they should practice with trusted friends first.
Just as many weren’t pleased with Nadella’s initial comments, they weren’t pleased with his halfhearted explanation on Twitter, either.
Just watched Satya’s comments on women asking for a raise. Satya, I like you but this wasn’t inarticulate http://t.co/b4Ax4irvVb 01:35:00
— Christina Warren (@film_girl) October 9, 2014
— Ellen Huet (@ellenhuet) October 9, 2014
so is this argument "we need to fix the system, so we can trust the system?”
which is sort of a, “well…yeah."https://t.co/w2X9QwlyTr
— ಠ_ಠ (@MikeIsaac) October 9, 2014
One of Klawe’s responsibilities as a Microsoft board member is to set Nadella’s compensation. We hope she’ll remember this moment the next time the topic of a raise comes up.
Lead image by LeWeb13
Update: Nadella, in a message to employees, realized that his gaffe required a longer follow-up than a short tweet could afford. So he issued an apology by way of an email to his employees.