No Gender Gap at Microsoft, CEO Claims

by Matt Klassen on October 24, 2014

There’s no gender gap at Microsoft, company CEO Satya Nadella announced earlier this week while discussing his firm’s latest cloud ventures, a follow-up on his comments earlier this month that women in the tech industry should “trust karma” to get them ahead in their field, instead of asking for raises. The comments ignited a firestorm of controversy, focusing attention on the extant gender wage gap and sexist hiring practices still prevalent in Silicon Valley.

But according to Nadella, while such a gender gap may exist in the tech industry in general, Microsoft remains unblemished by such sexism, stating that his company pays equally regardless of gender. “I checked that it is something that we are enforcing,” said Nadella, when asked about equal pay. “We are in fact in good shape. Men and women get paid equally at Microsoft.”

Of course Microsoft offered nothing concrete to back this up, and given that Nadella’s claim seems to fly in the face of the little research into equitable pay in the tech industry, you’ll have to forgive me if I remain sceptical, waiting for the day we receive some concrete evidence and not just Nadella’s good natured assurances.

“I was insensitive to the broader context,” Nadella said earlier this week. Following his blunder, for which he apologized in public statements and in a blog post, Nadella clearly wanted to make sure his company was innocent of any of the karmic-based promotions that he implied during his original speech. Following whatever sort of investigation he conducted his conclusion was that no pay gap existed between men and women at Microsoft. “It turns out that we are in good shape on that, but that doesn’t really capture the essence… and that is equal opportunity.”

What Nadella is referring to is the fact that women make up a small percentage of the tech workforce, accounting for approximately 29 percent of Microsoft’s employees. While Microsoft may be free of gender pay gaps, kudos to Nadella for acknowledging that there’s still a long way to go here.

But as mentioned, the only thing we have to go on here regarding the Microsoft’s equal pay philosophy is Nadella’s assurance, a statement that seems to run counter to the limited research data we have on gender wage gaps in the tech industry. According to job site Glassdoor, which admittedly polled a small sample of employees who volunteered to share their salary figures, there is certainly a disparity at Microsoft.

As Reuters reports, “A male Microsoft senior software development engineer makes about $137,000 per year, according to Glassdoor, compared with about $129,000 for women. Only 29 percent of Microsoft’s more than 100,000 employees are female, according to figures recently released by the company.”

Further, general labour research indicates that men, on average, earn 24 percent more than their female counterparts in the tech industry, so while Microsoft may boast an equitable pay structure, there is still reason to doubt, particularly, as I mentioned, that we have no firm numbers to support Nadella’s claim.

In the end Nadella does admit that there is still room for improvement at his company on this issue. “We have made some progress,” he said. “We have a lot more to do.”

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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