Why Microsoft’s CEO may have been right about asking for a raise


Now that the witch-hunt has died down a bit, it might be time to cut Microsoft’s [fortune-stock symbol=”MSFT”] CEO a little slack.

Last week, Satya Nadella made a controversial comment about women and pay. On stage at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Maria Klawe – named one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders in Fortune for her work recruiting female engineering students as president of Harvey Mudd College—asked Nadella what advice he has for women uncomfortable with asking for pay raises. “It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,” he responded.

The crowd was noticeably alarmed by Nadella’s recommendation. Research shows that women are less likely to ask for a raise, which fuels the persistent gender wage gap. In 2013, female full-time workers were paid 78% of what men were paid.

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