‘Far too many women are hesitant and remain trapped in jobs for which they are over-qualified or paid beneath their worth.’ – Janet Street Porter
As the global dialogue around pay equality and the gender wage gap is gaining prominence, one can’t overlook the approach women and men have towards salary negotiation. Any company would want to keep as much as they can in their pockets. There is no doubt that for women to be paid equal irrespective of gender is a challenging climb. However, to bridge the wage gap, women also need to take a step further and be more forthright in negotiating their salary.
Women’s reluctance in negotiating for salary also contributes to the pay gap. Research shows that while 36 % of men always negotiate their starting salaries following a job offer, only 26% of women do so. In a study conducted on close to 1000 women, 64% said they didn’t negotiate their salary. But those who did negotiate eventually made a bomb further up the ladder.
What Stops Women From Negotiating Salary?
For starters, we could look at unawareness regarding the policies and, secondly, household responsibilities. However, in a broader spectrum, the reasons may be psychological and anthropological. Let’s take a look.
Thankfulness: The majority of women are conditioned to believe that they should be thankful to the company for offering them work opportunity. For them, their value addition to the company holds no respect. Women have to fight several emotional and social barriers to start going to work. Hence even the chance to work and be independent seems heavenly.
Satisfaction and expectation: Women generally make peace with lesser salary, sometimes also hoping that the company would see their hard work and reward them eventually.
Tabboo around discussing salary: Women have a more emotional approach towards their work and the pay they receive. Many women ask for a hike or negotiate an offering salary veers towards being selfish and materialistic—something they don’t want to be perceived as.
Unawareness: Many women walk into a job without researching or doing any background study on the company and the job profile. More often than not, they are in the dark about how much the other person doing the same work is making.
Education: Education also plays a key role in women being or not being able to negotiate a job offer. As per a survey, 48% of women with higher degrees negotiated their salaries. At the same time, women with just a graduate or a school degree didn’t feel the need for negotiation.
Why Should Women Be More Assertive While Negotiating a Job Offer?
Every time one refuses to take the chance by negotiating; one misses a milestone. While this might not appear much considering one hopes of catching up years down the line. However, in the long run, it leads to one being left behind by a large margin from what they could have made had they negotiated the first offer they received.
“If you are entering your career after graduating college and you don’t negotiate, that difference in pay from what you accepted on the first offer to ten, twenty, thirty years down the line. That’s thousands and thousands of dollars you could have been earning,” Glassdoor’s community expert, Sarah Stoddard, told Yahoo Finance. And this difference is what eventually adds up to the gender wage gap.
How To Negotiate Salary?
Mock session: If you fear coming across as self-indulgent or brash while discussing money matters, engage in a couple of mock sessions. Prepare a set of questions they might ask and how would you respond to them. It would not only give you the confidence to negotiate better but also give your thoughts clarity.
- Even if it’s the yearly development discussion, prepare yourself.
- Keep track of your year-long accomplishments, know how much others in your sector are being paid, the industry salary standards etc.
- Discuss facts.
Ask without hesitation: What’s the worse that could happen? They would say that they would think it over, right? Or look at it in the middle term. It is essential to make them aware that you are looking at a good raise more than the money itself.
It’s not always about the money: It is not just money that can boost your career. Think of other ways, more visibility, more opportunities that can make you shine in the company. Seek different modes of career progress. Emerge as an achiever in the global market space. This would, in turn, increase your chances of getting lucrative job offers.
Be persistent: Last but not least, be persistent. If the company cites financial crunch, ask them how soon and how would you be made up for when things turn around.