Science and Tech


Microsoft To Get Diversity Training After CEO's Wage Gaffe

Following his controversial equal pay comments, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says his company will implement diversity training.
Posted at 8:56 AM, Oct 18, 2014

Damage control. That's what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has planned after making some questionable comments about women and pay raises.

NADELLA: "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. ... Because that's good karma, it'll come back."

Nadella made those comments while speaking at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference last week. His remarks were in response to how women should negotiate pay raises and to no one's surprise, they didn't sit well with audience members. 

Nadella has since apologized for his comments, saying the way he responded was wrong and inarticulate.

And he went a step further with this internal memo obtained by GeekWire. In it, Nadella outlines three steps the company will implement to promote diversity: Focus on "equal pay for equal work," bring in more diverse talent and expand current training to be more inclusive.

According to a recent report from Microsoft, the company says about 29 percent of its workforce are women, but only 17 percent make up each of its tech and leadership fields.

But there's no telling how well Microsoft's planned diversity training will do in closing the pay gap, which Nadella says is about a .5 percent difference. In fact, recent research suggests diversity programs might not even solve the problem here.

Writes the Harvard Business Review: "Diversity-training programs alone will not overcome conscious and unconscious biases. But they can raise awareness and trigger reflection on what may be more effective ways to change processes and organizational structures that lead to bias."

Nadella says he plans to refine existing diversity plans and will follow up in employee Q&A sessions starting in November.