Could today be a good time to ask for a pay rise? Microsoft boss Satya Nadella apologises for "karma" gaffe

Catherine Neilan
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Satya Nadella: Back-tracked after saying women who did not ask for a pay rise would benefit from "good karma" (Source: Getty)
If you're a woman working at Microsoft, today might be a good day to ask for a pay rise.
Yesterday the company's chief executive Satya Nadella had to issue an apology after he said women seeking pay rises should rely on karma, rather than asking their boss.
During an event for women in computing, Nadella was asked for advice on the subject – but the response raised more than a few eyebrows.
He said: “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.”
Not asking for a raise was “good karma”, and would help a boss believe the employee could be trusted and have more responsibility, he added.
Nadella claimed women should trust the system. “Because that's good karma. It'll come back because somebody's going to know that's the kind of person that I want to trust."
He was immediately challenged on stage by Microsoft board member Maria Klawe, who is also president of Harvey Mudd College, saying that was “one of the very few things I disagree with you on”. She received a few cheers from the audience and went on to advise women, instead, to practice with someone they trust ahead of making a request for a raise.
Nadella's statement soon made its way on to social media, where unsurprisingly, it fell on critical ears.
A few hours later, Nadella tweeted an apology of sorts.
“Was inarticulate re how women should ask for raise,” he said. “Our industry must close gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of a bias.”
He also wrote an email to employees, which was published on Microsoft's website, in which he gave a more fulsome apology, concluding that he “certainly learned a valuable lesson”.
“I answered that question completely wrong,” he said. “Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap. 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.”
So if you do work at Microsoft, perhaps strike while the iron is hot?

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