This is the CEO's career advice that every woman should ignore.



Feeling poorly-paid and under-appreciated in your workplace? Don’t worry, this CEO has got some sure-fire advice for you.

Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told a conference of women in technology about the best way to get a pay rise.

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.”

He continued: “That might be one of the initial ‘super powers’ that, quite frankly, women [who] don’t ask for a raise have,” he added. “It’s good karma. It will come back.”

Why is that? “Because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust; that’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to”

In summary, if you’re a woman and you want to be paid more:

Step 1: Don’t ask for a raise.

Step 2: If you don’t ask for a raise the wonderful workplace cosmos will provide you with magical rewards.

Step 3: Women who ask for raises are untrustworthy and do not deserve more responsibility.

Shorter version: good things come to women who sit silently and wait for men to decide whether they are good enough to get a pay rise.

Unsurprisingly, Nadella’s advice to working women caused a tsunami of outrage – both from women at the conference and people around the world.

But perhaps the most direct and powerful riposte came from music superstar Cher, who told it straight:


Mr Satya Nadella: Cher’s got you, babe.

Nadella, whose company’s workforce is 71% male (83% male when it comes to technical and leadership roles), quickly backtracked on his advice, initially in a tweet where he claimed to have been “inarticulate”; and then later in an email to all Microsoft staff, in which he said “I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work… If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask…. I certainly learned a valuable lesson.”

So, Nadella has learned a valuable lesson this week – and hopefully he is not the only male corporate leader who did.

Karma doesn’t put food on the table.

Karma doesn’t put shoes on your kids.

And karma doesn’t address entrenched inequality that persists despite the fact that women are consistently out-performing their male counterparts in highschool and university, and there are more women in the paid workforce than ever before.

In Australia today, women are being paid 17 percent less than men. In WA, Queensland and the NT, that figure is over 20 percent. The gender wage gap in this country is the largest it has been in 20 years.

If these facts don’t fill you with Cher-style ALL CAPS rage, think about this:

Over the past two years, the gender pay gap for graduates has more than doubled from $2000 to $5000.

Over the past two years, the gender pay gap for graduates has more than doubled from $2000 to $5000. In some occupations that figure is so much higher – in dentistry a female graduate can expect to be paid on average $14,400 less than her male counterpart. In architecture and building, she would earn $9000 less. In optometry, $7000 less.


And before you say that the gender pay gap is because women have children or women choose work in lower-paid caring professions, you should know that those elements explain some of the difference in pay between the sexes, but not all of it (in fact, not even half of it). After you strip out babies, part time work, caring professions and all other structural elements, there is still 60 per cent of the pay gap that can’t be explained any other way than sex discrimination – men get paid more because they are men and for no other reason.

So when Satya Nadella says have “faith that the system will give you the right raise”, he is showing an ignorance of how the system works – or perhaps he is showing an understanding of how the system worked for him.

The system values men more than it values the contribution of women. For hard-working women, waiting to be noticed by a benevolent man is not an option. The system doesn’t have women’s backs. There is no magical karma on its way.

It might make it easier and better for powerful men if women stand back, be nice and say nothing.

It might be easier and better for them if women don’t make waves, put their hands up or ask to be paid what they are worth.

Surely, 2000 years is long enough for working life to be easier and better for men?

So, f*ck the system. Sitting quietly won’t change anything. Isn’t it time women asked for what would be better for them?