In answer to a question from the floor, “What do you advise women who are interested in advancing their careers, but not comfortable … with asking for a raise?” Multiple studies have suggested that women in the workplace earn roughly three quarters of the salary, on average, compared to male counterparts doing the same job.
Satya Nadella said that women who don’t ask for raises have “good karma” and that not asking for equal pay with men is a “superpower”,
His exact words were: “women who don’t ask for raises have a “superpower … because that’s good karma, that’ll come back … that’s the kind of person that I want to trust.”
It is not as if he said the comment in private either. He said it on a stage at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, held in Phoenix, where no one is likely to take offence.
“It’s not really about asking for the raise,” Nadella told the audience, “but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along”.
We guess that at that point the conversion was drowned out by the cries of a thousand PR bunnies throwing themselves into Nadella’s mouth to stop him speaking.
Needless to say when he got back to the office there was a very cross representative from the PR department with an apology all written for him to send to all female employees who are being advised not to apply for raises.
Nadella wrote that he answered that question completely wrongly.
“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.”
We suspect that Nadella will have to spend a little more time on the Wheel of Birth and Death to escape his karma on that one.