A female project manager for Microsoft isn’t pleased with the way the tech giant treats its white male and Asian employees. The project manager wrote two posts criticizing Microsoft’s hiring policies which she states “discriminate against Asians and white men.”
Quartz originally reported on the accusations of discrimination after a number of Microsoft employees shared with them two posts on Microsoft’s internal messaging board, Yammer, which is used to communicate with the company’s CEO Satya Nadella.
The female project manager questioned in one of the original posts:
“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.”
The project manager added that she has an “ever-increasing file of white male Microsoft employees who have faced outright and overt discrimination because they had the misfortune of being born both white and male. This is unacceptable.”
If her accusations are true, it could open Microsoft to a lawsuit. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website states:
“It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant because of his or her race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. For example, an employer may not refuse to give employment applications to people of a certain race.
An employer may not base hiring decisions on stereotypes and assumptions about a person’s race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.”
Quartz indicates Microsoft responded to their inquiries by pointing to staff members who responded in the comments of the post. One, who manages “the diversity-based compensation” wrote:
“Our board and executive leadership team believe diverse and inclusive teams are good for business and consistent with our mission and inspire-to culture.”
“Linking compensation to these aspirations is an important demonstration of executive commitment to something we believe strongly in.”
Quartz also indicated that a member of Microsoft’s employee investigations team stated the company doesn’t tolerate discrimination.
The female project manager also made a number of other comments regarding women in the work force.
“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.”
This continued as she pointed to statistical evidence and other data to show women are indeed less interested in most STEM fields compared to their male counterparts. There has even been a rise in stay at home mothers for the first time in decades.
In another comment, the program manager argues that it isn’t because of some “unconscious bias” but because the two genders do indeed think differently:
“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. However, this established fact makes people very uncomfortable, because it suggests that the gender distribution in engineering might not actually be a problem (and thus women can no longer bleat about being victims of sexism in the workplace), these facts are ignored in favor of meaningless platitudes our SLT [senior leadership team] continues to shove down our throats – e.g. ‘We’re not doing enough’ and ‘we clearly have a long way to go.’”
Finally, the project manager pleaded that the tech giant cease its use of financial incentives and performance metrics when it comes to their hiring practice:
“We MUST immediately cease the practice of attaching financial incentives and performance metrics to ‘diversity hiring’ – as long as we give more money and higher annual reviews explicitly for NOT hiring/promoting white men and Asians, this will continue to be a serious problem at the company.”
What do you make of the comments made by this anonymous female project manager? Do you think it could affect Microsoft’s current hiring strategies?