With pay inequality rife in the tech industry, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella should probably have known better than to say it is "good karma" for women to not ask for pay raises—especially since he was at a women's computer science conference. Attendees at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing murmured in "confusion and displeasure" yesterday after Nadella said it's "not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise," according to readwrite.com. Nadella later apologized for the comments, saying he had been "inarticulate" and the "industry must close [the] gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of bias," reports USA Today.
Nadella's comments weren't just ill-judged—Carnegie Mellon economist Linda Babcock estimates that women who fail to seek pay raises early in their careers can lose more than $1 million in earning over their lifetimes, according to Slate—they show that the India-born CEO has a poor understanding of the concept of karma, writes Annalisa Merelli at Quartz. He's implying that asking for a raise is a bad action and people who don't do it will be rewarded by life, she writes, but the truth is that many people deserve a raise anyway, and if Nadella wants good karma himself, he "should walk in his office tomorrow and give a raise to all the women who work for him, without waiting for them to ask for it."