Female professionals still arenât leaning in.
Men are still more aggressive when it comes to negotiating salaries, a study released by recruiting software company Jobvite concluded. Some 56% of men feel comfortable negotiating salaries compared with only 38% of women. The result? It isnât pretty. Female employees simply accept the first offer, leaving money on the table. Nearly one-third of men negotiated a salary at their most recent job compared with just over one-quarter of women.
By not negotiating a salary at the beginning of their career, women could lose between $1 million and $1.5 million over the course of their lives. Consider two fictional workers: Jim, who starts at $45,000 a year â and accepts a typical 1% pay raise each year â and Jane, who negotiates for a starting salary of $50,000 and negotiates a 4% raise every three years. After a 45-year career, the difference in their total lifetime earnings is $1,037,773, Salary.com found in a separate study. And that doesnât take into account bonuses, promotions or stock options.
Not knowing how much to ask for is a major reason women avoid negotiating, said Susan Heathfield, a writer and human resources expert. She suggested doing research on job and salary information websites like PayScale and Glassdoor, which allow current and former employees of specific companies to anonymously submit information about their salary and benefits. Another level of valuable intel: Ask co-workers whether estimates on Glassdoorâs âKnow Your Worthâ for your job and company are (a) high, (b) reasonable or (c) low to get more specific feedback. That way, colleagues can weigh in on specific numbers without revealing their own salaries.
Women are also being encouraged to share this information among themselves. Asking how much co-workers earn and people at similar job levels can be empowering for some, prompting a discussion in recent years around the hashtag #talkpay.
Another reason women are more reluctant to negotiate: They are more used to getting push back when they ask for a raise. Some 87% of men were successful in negotiating higher pay whereas only 80% of women said the same, Jobvite found. Some 51% of men received an initial salary offer on par with what they expected compared with just 45% of women, the study concluded.
In fact, academic studies suggest that women are often judged more harshly when they ask for a raise, even by other female bosses. This study in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Process said evaluators penalized female candidates more than male candidates for initiating negotiations. Women were judged on their ânicenessâ and âdemandingness.â
All workers â men and women â also less likely to ask for a raise if they earn less, which could impact women more given that they tend to get paid less overall, said Linda Sharkey, a human resources expert and co-author of âThe Future-Proof Workplace.â Only 21% of people who make less than $25,000 negotiate versus 49% of those who make between $200,000 and $300,0000.Whatâs more, people who earn six figure salaries often have higher levels of education and may have more options if their negotiations are unsuccessful and they decide to move on.
Sharkey said often it comes down to traditionally âfeminineâ or âmasculineâ traits negotiators have been conditioned to exhibit. Studies show men are more aggressive in salary discussions whereas women, who are stereotypically caregivers and people-pleasers are more likely to give in more quickly. She witnessed this first hand as a senior hirer for a number of Fortune 500 companies, she said. A man will ask when the first raise will be and when he can expect a promotion, she said. âWomen ask more job-related questions: the content of the position, how theyâll be evaluated, etc.â
Instead, both sexes should tell their manager why they deserve a raise and list their accomplishments, rather than saying why they need a raise.