Microsoft CEO Nadella's 'karma over pay raise' comment sparks outrage

Byby Tiffany Wilson KGO logo
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Microsoft CEO Nadella's 'karma over pay raise' comment sparks outrage
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's comment adds to debate on wage gap.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- "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."

Those are the words of Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella - which set off a firestorm. Just seconds after the comments, twitter started to react with messages of disbelief. On the streets of San Francisco, the feeling was similar.

"As a woman, as a professional woman, I think it's absolutely absurd," said Chelsea Tulin, a media employee.

"I think the message was entirely wrong, women are starting from a place behind men to begin with and they need to be encouraged to ask for raises, ask for things that are going to help them succeed and develop," said Mollie Carter, a tech employee.

Nadella quickly responded with a tweet, saying he was inarticulate. Then he sent an email to the entire company, which read in part: "I answered the question completely wrong. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And if you think you deserve a raise, you should ask."

The women's advocate group Ultraviolet doesn't think the apology goes far enough. "I think Microsoft should fire him. I think they should replace him with a CEO who will take the wage gap seriously and will take women in tech seriously and reward their hard work with fair salaries," said Karin Roland, a spokesperson for the group.

Ultraviolet says the wage gap means women get about half a million dollars less over the course of their careers.

Nadella's interviewer related her own experience of trusting in the fairness of the system. "I probably got a good $50,000 less."

Instead of waiting for karma, she advises women to practice asking for the salary they deserve.