MSFT has been through a lot of change since I left but historically, it has a very type A, competitive culture. Every group is unique though. Be sure you enjoy networking and internally PRing yourself. These are important traits in addition to being functionally good at your job at MSFT.
I've been at Microsoft for about 2 and half years as a junior/mid-level employee. Outside of core engineering teams, men and women seem to be treated fairly for the most part. When I say core engineering teams, I mean teams that work on technical features that have broad impact across the company and therefore yield the biggest bonuses. Sometimes you can be in an engineering org but your role may not be a particularly technical. As a woman, the closer you get to core engineering roles and responsibilities that require technical skills, the less women you will see and the more youâ€™ll experience being undermined, sidelined, and discriminated against. Management is apathetic to this issue, mostly because it has never affected any of them. I applaud Katherine Moussouris for calling attention to this issue. It is very real and very pervasive at Microsoft and needs to be addressed.
I was reassigned to new team during maternity leave. I was put on performance improvement programming by new team when returned from maternity leave. I resigned before pip. I was calibrated very well before maternity leave.
Microsoft cares about women.
I've been here for 13 years. Generally women are treated fairly, but like in all tech companies, the management is predominantly non-diverse males and I believe there is an unconscious bias against mothers taking time to tend to family needs, flex time, etc. Benefits in general are great to support a family.
I worked here for 3 years in engineering where there were few other women. All of the women were in junior levels, even the ones who were not entry-level and had some years of experience. I did not have any mentors or sponsors, the environment was fairly isolating.
I am a vendor here and have worked at Microsoft for the past 5 1/2 years now. There are a lot of women that work here but mostly in support roles. I don't see as many leaders as there should be. Women are treated fairly but I would like to see more women in higher levels here. It would also be great if FTE women would give vendor women opportunities to join the company. It is hard enough as it is for women in the work force and I don't see many networking opportunities around here. And those who do network are bad mouthed as 'desperate'.
I've worked here for 18 years and there are a lot of women working here, but predominantly in support roles. Generally I believe they are treated fairly but management is male-dominated and not diverse. Mid-level women don't seem to advance because of these subtle issues.
While I was treated better here than at any other company I've worked for, there are still certainly some issues, not least of which is Satya Nadella's comments about women and raises. Almost all of the Admin Assistants are women, and while there are some engineers, devs, testers, etc that are women, you REALLY have to strut your stuff as people will tend to think you should be doing 'softer' work (presentations, admin assistant, marketing, reporting, etc). Show everyone that you're a world class talent though, and you'll get respect in a hurry, and outside of some cultural barriers, you'll find people will back you up pretty strongly.
I've worked here for 11 years. When I started, I worked for a woman who was formerly the head of a very big group. Looking up in the organization, I saw a few women who were up the management chain (though none other than my boss in my own management chain). Now, there are far fewer, and it isn't clear as to why. On the positive side, the lack of women in leadership has been acknowledged by the top people in my organization, and there is a lot of thought going into what to do and how to change the organization's management from a 40-something-wife-at-home-white boys club like it is now. As for maternity leave, I have found both men and women (and especially men) to be supportive of parental leave. In fact, I've seen male managers be more supportive of taking the full leave (20 weeks) than women managers.
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