retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, created a social media firestorm yesterday when he suggested at a conference that women should not ask for raises when they think they deserve them, but rather should trust the system to reward them appropriately.

Here's what he said, according to a New York Times transcription of the event:

"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 … That, I think, might be one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have. 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. That’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to. And in the long-term efficiency, things catch up.”

Adding to Nadella's problems: He made the comments at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, in Phoenix.

That's bad karma.

The Times notes that social media went a little nuts after Nadella's comments were made public in a webcast, and that shortly thereafter, he took to Twitter to backtrack, saying that that his comments were "inarticulate." He also sent an email memo to Microsoft employees, saying that “I answered that question completely wrong" and that "if you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”

Ironically, the Times notes, Nadella had a good reputation for how he deals with women's issues.

Here's the deal, IMHO. I actually think that Nadella said exactly what he thinks - which is that most companies would run more efficiently and effectively if the people who worked there didn't ask for raises, but just focused on the job and trusted in the system.

All people. Men and women. But since he was at a conference talking about women, in this case, he talked about women.

Not such a good idea.

Because what he didn't factor into his thinking is that it has been proven that women make less than men in comparable jobs … and that women, even more than men, should stand up for themselves to demand equal compensation.

It is hard to trust a system that so often has been proven to be untrustworthy, or, at the very least, biased in favor of middle aged white guys.

One other note. There is a very, very funny video online that talks about what women need to do in order to attain equal pay. It stars Sarah Silverman, and while I loved it, I have to caution you that a lot of people will find it to be vulgar … which is sort of Silverman's specialty. If you want to see it - and don't say I didn't warn you - just go to YouTube and search for "Sarah Silverman Closes The Gap." (I'm not providing a link because I don't want people clicking on it without reading my caution … it is easy to find, but I want you to have to want to watch it.)

It is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: