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Ladies, Will This Career Mistake Cost You $500,000?

It's an unfortunate fact that men are paid more than women in today's business environment, but here's a startling statistic that adds even more insult to injury: By failing to negotiate the starting salary at their first job, women can lose up to $500,000 over the course of their careers. How can we make up for lost time?

It isn't that women don't like to negotiate; research by the National Bureau of Economic Research revealed that women just don't prefer to negotiate all the time. Some situations, including face-to-face meetings, make women more reticent to playing hardball early in their careers.

Another trait that can work against women when it comes to salary is our tendency to want to compromise and avoid rocking the boat. Kara Chambers, the vice president of talent strategy at The Motley Fool, recommends in a Fast Company article that women face their fears and have the dreaded salary talk with their boss. Even if your request for a raise is declined, she says, "It's more information for you about what your boss and the company values." From there, you can set goals together and move forward. "It's not about making them feel guilty," Chambers adds. "There's no tension if you just continue to work toward those goals."

Ladies, do you negotiate your salary? If not, what holds you back?

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(Photo credit: Victor1558/Flickr)

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