Microsoft CEO Pledges More Company Diversity

Satya Nadella2

Microsoft will look less white and male in coming years, according to CEO Satya Nadella.

Speaking at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, Nadella emphasized the Microsoft’s commitment to a “more diverse workforce” and “creating opportunities at every level of the company for all of Microsoft’s employees,” according to Business Insider.

Nadella finds himself under a particular microscope after his comments at this October’s Grace Hopper Conference, in which he suggested that female employees trust in “karma” to secure them raises and promotions: “It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.” Subsequent protests forced him to walk those comments back.

“Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap,” he wrote in a subsequent email to employees. “If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.”

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Data from earlier this year painted Microsoft as a company that’s 76 percent male and 61.8 percent white, although it doesn’t offer extensive insight into its ethnic makeup.

In his comments, Nadella hinted that the process of building a more diverse workforce will be a gradual one; in addition to adjusted hiring policies, the company will reportedly require employees to go through training “that alerts them to their unconscious biases.”

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8 Responses to “Microsoft CEO Pledges More Company Diversity”

  1. My understanding is that MS is largely Indian…I wonder if they are considered “white”. If so, I suspect that the “European white” population of MS is about 30%.
    I suspect that another 25% is asian descent.
    Sounds like they want to get more Black and Hispanics.
    Also, are they talking employees or contractors (not sure if H1B visa holders are typically one or the other.)
    And are they going to diversify according to world-white stats (60% asian) or US stats (10% Black)?
    And how are they going to entice more women to join their teams if women typically are not as interested in STEM programs? Are they going to hire them in clerical roles and claim more diversity through that?

    These statements are all so political and often create a de-incentive for people to work there because they are using quotas rather than finding the best people for the job.

  2. So he wants to get more Indians into Microsoft… great…. I’m not white caucasian, but I’ve worked for both mostly Indian staffed and mostly white-staffed companies, and I’d rather work for a mostly white company any day. The way they manage the company is more efficient than the Indian-run counterparts. I have a better work/life balance with the white-managed company. The Indian-managed company is mostly staffed by messengers, not managers. They’ll work you to death and expect more from you.

    I truly hope MS and other corporations will add more white caucasians to their IT staff.

    • Chuck Felon

      White people and English have become too expensive. 99% of the Indians I’ve worked with (a few dozen at least) had non-stellar communication skills when using English, especially in the form of writing. Fluency in English is valuable, rare, and a very expensive language for companies to use as their main choice.

      But does clear communication really matter in technology or business? Not when an impossible deadline is approaching. Although miscommunications due to lack of 100% fluency (in English) are the biggest killers of outsourced projects, the odds are overall in your favor. For example:

      If the overseas labor is ten times cheaper, a company can simply outsource the same project to 10 different overseas software shops. The odds are pretty good that one of them will get it right. I’ve witnessed the final results of about a dozen outsourced projects, and while none of them were successful, they provided a type of prototype that could be reverse-engineered in-house.

  3. MS is already an extraordinarily diverse company. And at what point will reverse discrimination ever be recognized for what it is? Caucasian is the new minority IMO. @Ken, @Rob S – Agree 100% and well said, both of you.

  4. When they make these assessments they need to take into consideration the percentage of applicants that have the appropriate college degrees and/or certifications for the positions they are applying. Reverse discrimination is a bigger problem than discrimination in many of these large IT companies. The stereotype of white men being more discriminatory than other groups in white collar environments is a myth.

    • I’ve noticed that companies don’t verify degrees like they used to. Instead, they give you a tech screen, an interview, and maybe a test or two, and that’s all. Even if the job description says a computer science degree is required, there’s no way for employers to quickly weed out the applicants who are fraudulent (they said they have a degree that they don’t really have).

      So how do you suggest companies weed out the reals from the fakes?

      • Unless there’s a gov’t requirement for a degree, it’s really irrelevant on the resume, except to show people that you went through some formal training.
        You weed out the fakirs by simply asking them questions to prove that they understand what they put on their resume. If you don’t know how to ask the right questions, you should find someone who can or you’ll go through an endless array of incompetents.
        For example: “You said on your resume that you built a phone app to handle a survey. How did you build the app? What made you decide to create a phone app? What tools did you use? How did you test the app?” etc. Anyone who can’t answer questions like these probably, at best, was a minor contributor of the created app.

  5. Since Microsoft is pledging more company diversity, where on their application do I tell them all about my being a white (Caucasian) male homosexual? I bring this up because 1. NOBODY else has, and 2. being gay is what diversity means to me.

    As for English being an expensive language, I’d like to point out that nearly all programming tools in existence were invented within English.

    I don’t intend to sound racist, but it seems that all my life I’ve been penalized for being white, for issues I’ve never had anything to do with, and sometimes a touch of resentment will creep out in my posts.