Why women should not be afraid to ask for a pay rise

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s comments that women should trust the power of karma to reward them for their work has raised a backlash in the US. What is gender pay gap among women in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, gender pay gap statistics seem decent, judging by the OECD’s latest available statistics.

Research conducted has shown an average income gap of 6% emerging between men and women just one year after university, increasing to an average of 17% after five years. Read more

Graphics sourced from OECD report

Women in NZ IT industry

In the IT industry, New Zealand women aren’t scoring too badly; at least at  junior levels. But at senior levels, the gap widens.

Recent research from Absolute IT shows that based on a sample of 9869 (from the last 24 months) salary entries into itsalaries.co.nz, men working in the NZ IT industry are only paid 1.9% more than women. 

“There is a clear trend that shows women often earn equal or even more than men at lower and mid career stages, however at a management level we see a clear jump in what men earn compared to women,” according to the website.

In the management category men are earning 11% more than women, compared with BA (Business Analyst) where they earn equally and helpdesk support where women earn 3% more.

Median base salary in tech

Male – $80,000 and 32% receive bonuses/commissions

Female – $78,500 28% receive bonuses/commissions

Median base rate/hour

Male $90/hr and 3% receive bonuses/commissions

Female $85/hr and 1% receive bonuses/commissions

Back to the storm

Here's what got Nadella into trouble:  “It’s not really about asking for a raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will give you the right raise,” Nadella told an audience at the Grace Hopper Celebration, an event which celebrates woman in the technology field.

The audience and America was stunned by the response from Nadella, in his interview with Dr. Maria Klawe, a member of the Microsoft Board, Harvey Mudd College president and computer scientist.

Nadella has been back peddling over the weekend, telling employees that he answered the question completely wrong. Full letter here 

“Toward the end of the interview, Maria asked me what advice I would offer women who are not comfortable asking for pay raises. I answered that question completely wrong. Without a doubt I wholeheartedly support programs at Microsoft and in the industry that bring more women into technology and close the pay gap. I believe men and women should get equal pay for equal work. And when it comes to career advice on getting a raise when you think it’s deserved, Maria’s advice was the right advice. If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask,” he writes.

In his tweet, he says he was “inarticulate” about how women should ask for raise. “ Our industry must close gender pay gap so a raise is not needed because of a bias.”

A movement has sprung up to push for change. Check out the peeves on the Facebook page created.

It is better, to just ask for a pay rise. According to a  Forbes.com report, of the 43% of women who’d ever asked for a raise, 75% of them got one. This figure is based on survey done by Glamour magazine which also found that women tend to be less prone to ask for salary revisions compared to men: only 39% of women in the survey have asked for a higher salary when they began a new job. This is in comparison to 54% of men. 

More on Microsoft's diversity profile

Women make up 29% of Microsoft’s worldwide workforce, but only 17.3% of leadership roles. Women make up 17.1% of Microsoft’s technology-based workforce; and 44.5% of non-tech workforce, according to the company’s website.

The number of Microsoft senior executive women and minorities rose from 24% to 27% in the past year. The percentage of women and minorities on the Microsoft board of directors is up from 33% to 40% compared with last year.

Microsoft's workforce is currently 60.6% Caucasian, 28.9% Asian, 5.1% Hispanic/Latino, 3.5% American/African Black, 1.2% multiracial, .5% American Indian/Alaskan native and .3% native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

Sources: Salon.com   Readwrite.com