Why do women earn less money than men – and how much less do they really make? When it comes to the gender pay gap, nothing is off-limits for debate. In particular, critics who say that the gender pay gap is
much smaller than 77 cents on the dollar argue that women’s choice has a lot to do with why they earn less than men. They claim that women’s lower earnings is not so much a pay gap, but a wage gap – and if women don’t negotiate salary, for instance, then why worry about their lower earnings?
(Photo Credit: kevin dooley/Flickr)
The problem, of course, is that for working women, it’s not a simple matter of “don’t ask, don’t get.” Let’s take a look at six things you might not know about women and salary negotiation:
Salary negotiation is a pretty big deal when it comes to lifetime earnings, so the fact that women do it less than men is important. The difference was relatively small, but among those surveyed as a part of PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide, 42 percent of women reported having asked for a raise in their current field compared with 44 percent of men. Additionally, women were far more likely to report that they avoided negotiation due to “feeling uncomfortable” than men. Thirty-one percent of women said they chose not to negotiate for this reason compared with just 23 percent of men.
According to what has come to be known as the Bowles study, women and men are treated differently when they attempt to negotiate. In four different experiments, researchers found evidence that when women asked for better compensation, they were significantly more likely than men to be penalized (fewer wanted to work with them or hire them) by male evaluators. This fact helps to explain why women are less likely than men to negotiate in the first place.
According to an analysis conducted by the National Women’s Law Group, which is a non-profit advocacy group, the gender pay gap will cost women, on average, about $430,000 over the course of a lifetime. In order to recover some of those losses, women should strongly consider negotiating for better pay.
6. Even the youngest generation of female workers struggle with negotiation.
Even though gender pay inequality is at a low at the beginning of one’s career, young millennial women should participate in the salary negotiation process in order to keep that gap closed as they continue to make progress in their professions.
However, even millennial women struggle with the salary negotiation process. A recent study, which focused on this youngest generation of working women, and was reported by Fortune, found that more than half of them, 51 percent, didn’t realize they should be negotiating. Sixty-three percent said they felt uncomfortable negotiating, and 58 percent were afraid they’d lose the job offer if they attempted it. A large percentage of millennial women, 56 percent, said they didn’t know what to ask for during a conversation about salary.
Feeling confident and knowledgeable about the salary negotiation process is key for any professional hoping to make more money. PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide can help you plan, prepare, and execute your approach. Seventy-five percent of people who ask for a raise get one. Now there’s a fact that should help motivate you to belly up to that negotiation table. You can do it!
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