Microsoft employees questioning company’s diversity efforts


There has been a chain of diversity and sexual harassment cases at IT companies of late. First it was Google, which was surrounded by controversies regarding discrimination, diversity and work ethics at the workplace. Its employees spoke up in large numbers to make sure that the management took due action on the related issues. Now, employees at Microsoft are also raising questions about the Company’s pro-diversity efforts — hiring of women and minorities over white and Asian men.
Expressing their concern on the biased hiring practices in the Company, some employees used its internal messaging boards to criticise the Company’s discriminatory hiring methods.

“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 messages in the companies internal messaging platform which were released by quartz.

Another comment from the messaging thread read, “Because women used to be actively prohibited from full-time employment many decades ago, there is now the misguided belief that women SHOULD work, and if women AREN’T working, there’s something wrong…. Many women simply aren’t cut out for the corporate rat race, so to speak, and that’s not because of ‘the patriarchy,’ it’s because men and women aren’t identical, and women are much more inclined to gain fulfillment elsewhere.”

The situation is quite similar to that of Google, where a couple of years ago an engineer criticised his employer’s diversity efforts, saying that women are less proficient in technology roles in large companies. After this, Google terminated the employee but in Microsoft’s case no action has been taken against the concerned employees as of now.

A few weeks ago there was an internal e-mail where stories of sexual harassment and discrimination were reported, which made huge headlines in the media. Responding to this controversy, Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft said that the Company will revamp its HR policies to counter such cases.

The internal e-mails, which were leaked, contained complaints of sexual harassment from a woman, who described how she was asked to sit on a co-workers lap and called denigrating names.

In one of the statements to the employees, Nadella clearly mentioned that the Company is taking measures to make the culture more inclusive and diverse, and employees who choose not to help the Company achieve its diversity goals may have to face problems with their career trajectory and employment at the Company. Now employees are doubting the Company’s diversity efforts as no action is being taken against people who are passing derogatory statements against women and minority groups.

Diversity has always been a very sensitive issue in the IT industry, which is mostly dominated by men. Companies will have to take some strong steps to meet their diversity goals and introduce robust HR policies to build an inclusive culture at the workplace.

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