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Microsoft CEO 'humbled' by backlash to equal pay comments, outlines diversity plan

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Satya Nadella tries to make amends for saying women should 'trust in the system' and 'karma' instead of asking for raises

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is not done addressing the criticism over his recent remarks that women in the notoriously sexist technology industry shouldn't be "asking for a raise" but should instead be "having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along." After making those comments in early October at a conference celebrating women in tech, and then walking back them back on Twitter and in an internal email, Nadella is taking even more steps to apologize and emphasize that he is committed to greater gender equality at Microsoft. In a memo Nadella sent to Microsoft employees this week, obtained by Geekwire, he says the feedback he received on his comments was a "humbling and learning experience." Nadella also goes on to state he is "100 percent committed to diversity and inclusion at the core of our culture and company" and outlines several new steps he's taking to expand improve on those areas.

Nadella also shares internal figures that the "wage gap" between the salaries of women and men at Microsoft with the same titles is consistently just 0.5 percent, far better than the US average and better even than the variance in the technology industry as a whole (which is also steadily improving). But he also points to recent diversity figures released by Microsoft that show women make up only 29 percent of the company's workforce and says "these numbers are not good enough...we will have to expand the diversity of our workforce at the senior ranks and re-double our efforts in college and other hiring." Finally, Nadella says he will institute mandatory training on diversity and inclusion, and says he and the rest of the leadership team will work with Microsoft's general manager of diversity Gwen Houston on monthly goals. Nadella is clearly hoping to turn his recent experience into a plan for progress within Microsoft as a whole. Above all, the incident and its fallout are good reminders that scrutiny over diversity in tech isn't going away anytime soon.