It is being reported that there are discussions on an internal online messaging board where some Microsoft employees are voicing their opinions about the company’s efforts to employ more women and minorities. The company’s efforts to be more diverse are being called “discriminatory”, and comments on the threads, which now exceed 800, both agree and disagree with the the views of the posts. The threads, which were made on Microsoft’s enterprise messaging app Yammer, were found in the “CEO Connection” channel, which is a channel designed so that CEO Satya Nadella can address these particular issues company wide.
It seems that this is the current climate at Microsoft, as just a few weeks ago it was reported that there was a 90 page internal email chain that gave stories and stories of sexual harassment and discrimination. But the big issue was that despite the many complaints that the company received, HR did nothing to rectify them. However, Nadella did issue a memo promising change just a few days ago, so the company is taking steps in the right direction.
Microsoft’s issue is reminiscent of a similar issue that Google went through just 2 years ago, where an employee wrote a memo claiming men are biologically more predisposed to working in the tech industry than women. The employee, an engineer by the name of James Damore, was subsequently fired for ‘perpetuating gender stereotypes’, and sued the company for wrongful termination.
So far Microsoft hasn’t issued a statement on the release of these threads, but has suggested that those who are against the company’s ‘inclusive culture’ will have their ‘rewards, career trajectory and possibly employment impacted’.
“This past year, we increased our commitment with a new core priority on inclusion for every employee. If you are not helping to create an inclusive culture, your rewards, your career trajectory and possibly even your employment will be impacted,” wrote Nadella, “Put together, I believe these new steps will move us farther and faster to create an inclusive culture that values diversity and helps us all exercise a growth mindset to learn from each other.”
But it seems that some of the issues that the employees have are with the financial incentives offered to management for hitting ‘diversity goals’.
“Does Microsoft have any plans to end the current policy that financially incentivizes discriminatory hiring practices? To be clear, I am referring to the fact that senior leadership is awarded more money if they discriminate against Asians and white men,” read one of the posts made by a female engineer.
Other posts highlight the fact that a lack of diversity is not as large an issue as the company is making it seem to be, and women are not “cut out for the corporate rat race”.
“We still lack any empirical evidence that the demographic distribution in tech is rationally and logically detrimental to the success of the business in this industry….We have a plethora of data available that demonstrate women are less likely to be interested in engineering AT ALL than men, and it’s not because of any *ism or *phobia or ‘unconscious bias’- it’s because men and women think very differently from each other, and the specific types of thought process and problem solving required for engineering of all kinds (software or otherwise) are simply less prevalent among women. This is an established fact.”