There has been much backlash in the press towards Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella who told women at a tech conference last week, that they should not ask for a raise, rather let 'karma' take care of it for them. He has since publicly retracted this disastrous comment, but the impact of it lingers on. So much for reducing the 'brogrammer' culture and trying to promote more women in tech ! So what should Tech companies do to reduce the gender pay gap and attract and retain more women, who currently make up an average of 24-29% of the workforce in tech?
Girls in Tech, an international non profit focused on women in technology and entrepreneurship, has a strong suggestion. They are encouraging all tech companies including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Dell, Ebay, Paypal and IBM to join their "Raise Awareness" campaign to help reduce the gender-related wage gap by taking practical steps to increase the conversation on this topic inside their own companies.
About the Campaign:
Kate Brodock, Girls in Tech President Girls explains : « "Raise Awareness" is a direct response to the comments made by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella whereby he encouraged women to "trust the system" rather than ask for a raise. By teaching employees how to effectively ask for a raise and creating a system that supports that, we hope to empower those women that are currently hesitant to ask for a raise, and gain productive partners in the participating companies."
In this two pronged approach, Girls in Tech asks both sides (tech companies and women themselves) to move the needle forward : tech companies need to work on practical measures to help provide a more supportive working environment for all employees to seek achievement-based wages and women working there need to learn to ask for a raise and have the conversation. Ways companies can show commitment include policy change, actual performance-based raises for competent female employees, training for hiring managers, negotiation workshops and simply communicating an open and supportive for female employees to begin these conversations.
The Process: Once companies sign up on the Girls in Tech website, they will receive an email from the organization to ensure the person applying on behalf of the tech company is in a position to move things forward and that the company agrees to be transparent and held accountable for what they commit to doing to reduce the gender pay gap. From there, the tech company's name will be published on the website, along with various media-facing lists, but more importantly, Girls in Tech will periodically communicate with them between now and June to showcase progress made.
Key industry influencers are actively supporting the « Raise Awareness » campaign including Martha Lane Fox, Brian Solis, Laura Fitton, Dave McClure, Robert Scoble, Christine Perkett, Saul Klein and Robin Wauters.
The campaign runs until June 2015 and Girls in Tech in tech hopes to have reached and influenced women in tech around the world on how to ask for a raise and increase awareness on how employer policies on hiring and salary impact them.
«Apart from raising awareness on this important topic, we plan to prepare a report with quantitative and qualitative data to share best practices on what Tech companies are actually doing to reduce the gender pay gap » says Kate Brodock, Girls in Tech President.
Gender pay gap is one of the key factors of gender diversity measured by EDGE, the global business certification standard for gender equality, partners to the IFC/World Bank, and global multinationals. As competition for talent increases worldwide, it will become essential for corporations to effectively address the gender gap - so tech companies should sit up and take notice. And to all those women who want to know how to better negotiate their next pay raise, check out the Carnegie Mellon Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women - you may even ask your employer to pay for you to take the course !
So if you are serious about moving things forward on the gender pay gap in tech, join the « Raise Awareness » campaign.
For more information, please see: www.girlsintech.org/raise-awareness, follow and use the hashtag #RaiseTech
Together, let's push on that glass ceiling !
Photo courtesy of Girls in Tech