Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has apologised after claiming women should not ask for a pay raise because it is not “good karma” and they should simply trust the system to pay them well.
His comments, made at an event for women in the male-dominated computing industry, sparked an irate reaction on Twitter.
Nadella later tweeted he was sorry for his "inarticulate" remarks, followed by a longer blogpost in which he argued the tech sector must try harder to close the gender pay gap.
In answer to a question about how to ask for a rise in salary, 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." He claimed not asking for a raise is “good karma” which would engender trust from their boss who will ultimately give them more responsibility.
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
The audience cheered when his interviewer, Microsoft director Maria Klawe, said she disagreed at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing event.
Nadella added: "Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap".
The technology industry has been criticised over a lack of diversity and Nadella’s comments were met with ire online. Last week, Microsoft reported only 29 per cent of its global work force is female. The 70/30 ratio is in line with rivals Google, Facebook and Yahoo.Reuse content