Microsoft CEO: Women don't need to ask for raise

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Microsoft's Satya Nadella Tells Women Karma Leads to Raises

NEW YORK (AP) - Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says women don't need to ask for a raise. They should just trust the system - one that at technology companies is overwhelmingly male.

Nadella spoke Thursday at an event for women in computing held in Phoenix. He was asked to give his advice to women who are uncomfortable requesting a raise.

"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 answered. Not asking for raise, he added, is "good karma" that would help a boss realize that the employee could be trusted and should have more responsibility.

His interviewer, Maria Klawe, the president of Harvey Mudd College and a Microsoft director, told him she disagrees, drawing cheers from the audience. She suggested women do their homework on salary information and first practice asking with people they trust.

After getting blasted on Twitter for his remarks, Nadella tweeted, "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."

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Microsoft CEO: Women don't need to ask for raise
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella attends the launch of the Microsoft Pro 3 Surface Tablet at Skylight Clarkson Sq on May 20, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Sands/Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., speaks to students during the Microsoft Talent India conference on September 30, 2014 in New Delhi, India. Microsoft will offer its commercial cloud services from Indian data centres as it seeks to tap what it calls a $2-trillion market in the country where Internet use is growing rapidly. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
NEW DELHI, INDIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., speaks to students during the Microsoft Talent India conference on September 30, 2014 in New Delhi, India. Microsoft will offer its commercial cloud services from Indian data centres as it seeks to tap what it calls a $2-trillion market in the country where Internet use is growing rapidly. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 25: (CHINA OUT) CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella gives a lecture about dream, struggle and creation at Tsinghua University on September 25, 2014 in Beijing, China. CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella visited China for the first time on Thursday. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., speaks during a keynote session at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Nadella, who took over from Steve Ballmer in February, said in an interview last week that Microsoft would have to become more focused and efficient and he is preparing to make sweeping changes at the company. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 20: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella attends the launch of the Microsoft Pro 3 Surface Tablet at Skylight Clarkson Sq on May 20, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Sands/Getty Images)
Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., speaks during the unveiling of the Surface Pro 3 at an event in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Microsoft Corp. introduced a larger-screen Surface tablet that is thinner and faster than the previous Surface Pro model, its latest attempt to gain share in the market dominated by Google Inc. and Apple Inc. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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But his comments at the event, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, underscored why many see technology companies as workplaces that are difficult to navigate or even unfriendly for women and minorities. Tech companies, particularly the engineering ranks, are overwhelmingly male, white and Asian.

Criticized for their lack of diversity, major companies say they are trying to address the problem with programs such as employee training sessions and by participating in initiatives meant to introduce girls to coding.

Twenty-nine percent of Microsoft's employees are women, according to figures the Redmond, Washington-based company released earlier this month. Its technical and engineering staff and its management are just 17 percent female.

That's roughly comparable to diversity data released by other big tech companies this year.

Microsoft CEO Said He Was 'Inarticulate' About Pay Disparity For Women
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