Silicon Valley, located somewhere between sensational and silly, has long been led by entrepreneurial billionaires with a surreal relationship to people in the normal workaday world.
Thus, the tech “geniuses” who rule the rarefied Silicon stratosphere not only hold some of the most insensitive and stupid beliefs – but occasionally utter them aloud. For example, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, recently gave an astonishing bit of advice to women working for high-tech firms. It’s not “good karma” for women to ask for pay raises, he lectured. Instead, just trust corporate bosses to do the right thing, “knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.”
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Bizarrely, Nadella chose to cough up this completely clueless comment at a conference of women celebrating their role in the technology industry! Scorched immediately by media and public outrage, he tried to quell the firestorm by apologizing, then announcing that all Microsoft workers would henceforth receive “expanded training on how to foster an inclusive culture” in the workplace. Earth to Satya: It’s not your employees who need expanded training – it’s you.
Group therapy aside, improving Microsoft’s culture requires opening up a closed system, providing real steps to rectify the imbalances women face in an industry that’s notoriously unfriendly to them. For starters, note that at present only 29 percent of Microsoft’s employees are female and that women hold only 17 percent of its high-paying engineering and executive positions.
By the way, how did CEO Nadella get his $84 million-a-year pay package? I’m guessing he demanded it, “good karma” be damned. For more information on Silicon Valley’s embarrassing “female problem,” connect with the workplace advocacy group, UltraViolet: www.WeareUltraViolet.org.
“Microsoft CEO launches training after pay gaffe,” Austin American Statesman, October 18, 2014.
“Furor rages over CEO’s comments on women’s pay,” Austin American Statesman, October 11, 2014.
“Karma and the cloud at Microsoft,” USA Today, October 20, 2014.
“More Episodes of Clueless in Silicon Valley: What does the reaction say about us?,” www.celavoice.org, October 28, 2014.
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