IT Employment

Negotiating a higher salary: How women differ from men

Results from a study from Carnegie Mellon University demonstrate how vastly different men and women are in their approaches to salary negotiations.

Results from a study from Carnegie Mellon University demonstrate how vastly different men and women are in their approaches to salary negotiations.

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Here are some interesting, believable, yet totally depressing stats from Carnegie Mellon University. This list was compiled by Maureen McCarty of The Washington Post.

  • Women, on average, ask for 30 percent less money than males.
  • Men are four times more likely to negotiate a first salary than women.
  • Men are eight times more likely than women to negotiate their starting salary and benefits.
  • Women ask for raises or promotions 85 percent less often than their male counterparts.
  • In 2007, women who were full-time wage and salary workers earned 80 percent of their male counterpart's salary.
  • 20 percent of women (22 million people) say they never negotiate at all, even though they recognize negotiation as appropriate and even necessary.
  • 2.5 times more women than men said they feel "a great deal of apprehension" about negotiation.
  • When asked to pick metaphors for negotiations, men picked "winning a ball game match," while women picked "going to the dentist."

Comments?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

44 comments
fletcher.khoo
fletcher.khoo

Haha your mentioned trends doesn't seems to apply to Singapore media and advertising industry :p

kcameron
kcameron

As a woman, and I mother, I know that my priorities are different than those of (most) of my male counterparts. I will stay home with a sick child, whereas his father will not. I will leave early for my child if I need to. I may be distracted by my emotions at work, where as men are better at pushing it down. I am not bothered by men making 25% more for the same job, as they probably deserve it. In Germany, womean get 1 year off work for maternity at 67% pay, and can't get fired. Gee, if I were doing the hiring, I would hire a man first. Duh! I feel lucky to have a job. Period. But, I'd rather be at home with my son!

jim
jim

Most who find negotiation unpleasant seem to assume the only way to do it is aggressively, a-la Donald Trump. That is only one style of negotiation. I find hardball tactics unpleasant as well, so I would argue that attitude is not exclusive to females. I have rarely received something I wanted that I haven't asked for, so you do have to be willing to open negotiations. Gender bias is real, but the article does point out there are other factors. My wife was low-balled in an offer letter by $3,000.00 in comparison to the verbal agreement she'd had with the CEO as to pay. I advised her to reject the offer and reassert the original agreed-upon amount. She was uncomfortable doing it and ended up accepting the lower offer and being unhappy about it. We were working in the same company at that time, so I know he would have given her the higher amount had she asked. It's also true that I have seen men behave the same way and leave money on the table.

ProudCat
ProudCat

Usually when I talk about a salary with my boss he basically says he can't decide much. The company gives raises to pretty much everyone once a year. They are based on performance somewhat but still on par with just an inflation, imo. We fill out those stupid performance reports but according to company standard only 1 person out of several teams(!) can get the highest evaluation. Got it? So, can someone tell me how am I supposed to negotiate in this environment? And how can I even try doing this twice a year?

XnavyDK
XnavyDK

I ( am male) and never have had to negotiate a salary since I was in the military. Had never asked for a raise either. Asked for a raise when I was handed much more responsibility I was so nervous, apprehensive and really had no idea if what I was doing was the right way to go. I still did it, and I still don't think I'm being paid anywhere near what I should be for what I'm actually doing and am working on in the future. I have been told even though I got 2 raises this year since I started here in March already that I will be getting a "significant" increase when they start handing out raises after the first of the year. BUT and a big but at that, I love it here, I love what I do, and I love coming to work, all of which has intrinsic value to me. Plus my tidy lil retirement income from that Navy doesn't hurt either. Anyway, asking for a raise is tougher than I thought it would be. I think companies should do it like the Navy, doesn't matter if your a woman or a man, its all based on performance, test and longevity. The only part of those three that can be biased is the evaluation and are strictly regulated.

sleepin'dawg
sleepin'dawg

As employers, we have made it our company policy that there should be no racial or gender bias but it isn't necessarily the easiest thing to enforce. Many times managers, with an eye to promotion and raises for themselves, will play hardball at performance review time, in an effort to appear more efficient by keeping within their budgets and cost cutting. Women seem to be at a disadvantage at negotiating; preferring to seek a consensus with their manager, rather than risking a confrontation, especially as regards salary and/or wages. We noticed this about five years ago and a review of our salary structure was made in an effort to remedy this situation. Managers whose departments showed large disparities between the salaries of their male and female staff were put on the carpet and made to justify their decisions that resulted in the disparity. After six months, or so, we issued a salary scale based on service and job duties and informed managers that the scale was to be adhered to regardless of gender or race. We also made one other change; a change to our accounting method. Instead of departments operating as cost centres, they were to coperate as profit centers. That year we also leveled the playing field by granting equalizing raises to all the staff; their were also a few males that needed to be brought up to the level of their peers. It's probably still a problem, but one we try to keep on top of. It's not somuch about fairness and equality as it's good business. We don't want or need any law suits. BTW, we pay better than scale for our industry and have a profit sharing plan in place. [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

jdclyde
jdclyde

Then the majority of the complaints about Men making more than women are all BS, because the women have no one to blame but themselves?

santeewelding
santeewelding

The women in their study were not the women in my employ. Probably why they were in my employ.

Drmrfrk03
Drmrfrk03

One of your bullets was regarding asking for a raise. I am in an Accounting Firm in an official "It Help Desk" position. Throughout coming up on one year, I have had to also take on the entire role of Phone Administrator and Cell Phone adminitrator. We have a $40,000 Phone system I have to keep up and running, and over $43,000 yearly cell phone costs I am responsible for regarding cell phone administration. At what point do you, or your readers feel it would be appropriate to ask for a raise. I am currently full time, but paid hourly.

JamesRL
JamesRL

We wouldn't have any discussion about trends if they were all universal now would we? James

tech4me
tech4me

Kudos! An honest and unbiased post. I couldn't have said it better (especially because it would be coming from a guy). Still, with women asking for raises 85% less then men, and asking for 30% less pay, they're doing alright to only be earning 20% less. Either men are very ineffective at getting the raises they ask for or the women get a lot of free handouts. Everywhere I've worked so far has had employment and 'equality' weighed (sometimes heavily) in favour of women. Everything from "Womens groups" at work (last 4 jobs all had these) to being promoted as "Awarded for Gold Employer for Woman". I don't see any of these things for men, so as another poster has said, I think women are greatly accountable for this earning disparity.

Chaz Chance#
Chaz Chance#

I work in the very male dominated railway industry. While the older ones here follow "traditional" values, the younger (well under 50, anyway) men regard their families as being more important than their jobs. In my company we have a strong work ethic - getting the job done, and done right, is important to all of us. But if one of us gets a call to say that their partner or child is sick, the response of their colleagues is "well - why are you still here?" and we will take on the extra workload while they go home to take care of it. Walking along railway tracks is the most dangerous form of travel, mile-for-mile, in any country of the world. (I rarely do it, most of the IT is accessed remotely, but most of the other people in the company consider it part of daily life.) The attitude amongst the people I work with is that "real men" look after their families, and a career is a tool for doing part of that, no more. When my daughter was born, I got two weeks paid paternity leave, and I took all of it. I am also legally entitled to up to 200 unpaid days leave during her first five years, and I will take as many as she needs. I am ready for the day when I say to the boss "I just heard my daughter is ill - I'm going home". I said something very similar when my partner was taken ill a couple of times. I love my job, but I would rather lose it all than not be there for my family. That's the trend here in the UK, and we are behind the rest of Europe in this. I have been told by a Spanish colleague that in Spain a man who does not use his 4 weeks paternity leave to look after his partner gets his manhood questioned - serious business! History shows that where we lead in positive social change, North America will soon follow, so don't despair, it will come to you, too. Oh, and you think that men hide their emotions at work, do you? Well, maybe that's because you don't read the emotions of a man as well as other men can. The benefits of gender inclusive workforces are provable in the majority of places where they have happened. I would, and will, hire based on skills and experience, and if I need organisation skills, I definitely count running a household as valuable experience, on par with running an equivalent sized team. The needs of a business are not best served by short-sighted thinking such as "how much time off will they need?" With the changing, dangerous economic times ahead, we need a flexible, multi-talented, widely experienced workforce, and you can't have that from one gender alone. Anyone hiring for a company today with such outdated thinking is dooming their company to extinction. If this is the practice where you work, move, or face eventual unemployment.

JamesRL
JamesRL

As a manager, I have faced this situations from my staff. My company has a clockwork cycle for annual raises. But, if there is a situation where it is recognized that there is a fundamental inequity - like someone's job was badly graded, or they took on major responsibilities but didn't get a promotion, there are opportunities to apply for an "off cycle" raise. Of course your company may not be open to that, but many are, if there is a case to be made. James

jdclyde
jdclyde

the more I see set wage brackets being in place. It is just bad business to have inner office strife because three or more people, all doing the same work, make different wages. Not to mention the possible lawsuits. I guess that is why I am always skeptical about this, because it is so stupid to base wages upon ANYTHING except performance.

marie.truman
marie.truman

According to other studies women who do negotiate are considered too aggressive and are penalized. I don?t have a link to actual study but here is a NPR report that mentions one study: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12529237 It?s like a catch 22. If you negotiate during the interview you may not get the position, but if you don?t you many not make as much?.

n.smutz
n.smutz

During the cold war, I believe it was Regan that said "We are not friends. We are enemies." People who knew Russian culture were biting their nails. The Russian word for "enemy" implies a despicable person. It probably embodies a certain amount of hate. In the west we have long had the concept of "my noble enemy", of one whom we will fight yet respect. One may parlay with "my noble enemy" without bile or hateful intensity. Maybe, when these two paradigms manifest in the office, they make the difference between "tough negotiator" and "too aggressive." The translator wisely translated: "We are not friends. We are competitors."

jck
jck

at most: once per year. you should always get some little COL increase...even if it's $.10-.40 an hour. at the [b]bare[/b] minimum: every 3 years. you should never go more than 36 months without a decent raise. btw...tend to do it when you have year increment anniversaries with that firm. that way, you show another year or two of dedicated service. plus depending on the firm, you might want to only get a raise every other year...and especially with the economy being tight as it is.

StealthWiFi
StealthWiFi

I ask for a raise twice a year. On 6 months and on one year anaversary. The 6 month raise is usually very small and more of a monus but the one year I expect to negotiate and get a good price. My reasoning for the year being larger is now I have 1 more entire year of experiance working specificaly with their system and have done a great job at it for that year. Since I will be using my added experiance and performance and learning to benefit them then they should benefit me. Cheers,

santeewelding
santeewelding

You scale the height. How do you find the view?

jdclyde
jdclyde

When many of the companies are down sizing, it is NOT a good time to be looking for more money for yourself.

sleepin'dawg
sleepin'dawg

Each job or duty has it's bracket yes but whether you are at the top or bottom of the bracket is based upon performance. Length of service also is taken into consideration. We keep our salary and wage scale quite high fo our industry as well as providing benefits. A result of that keeps the bloody unions at bay and out of our hair. Have no use and will have no truck with bloody unions. Unions aren't the sole reason the Big 3 are in trouble but they are one of the major reasons that they are. [b]Dawg[/b] ]:)

jdclyde
jdclyde

save the link for the next time this topic comes up. The discussion of differences in pay/respect based upon gender is a fairly regular topic. One point I would make is that if people are anxious about something, it comes out in the interview. One of the reasons I have always heard for people not to over dress for the interview because if you are not comfortable, the interviewer will see it and assume you are trying to be something you are not. Something that should be VERY scary to women is this, in your article. [i]"[b]female evaluators[/b] disliked both men and women who chose to negotiate. When reading written responses, [b]female evaluators[/b] disliked women who negotiated more than they disliked men who did the same."[/i] Like in many cases, women are their own worst enemies, but when the main story comes out, it is made to look as if it is the fault of the "Boys club". Many of us value and respect our female peers that have EARNED respect. There are many peers that are unworthy of respect, regardless of gender.

road-dog
road-dog

If I have an interviewee who wants to niggle a lot during the hiring process, I know I'll have to endure the same every 6 months or so when they want more money. Too aggressive knows no gender. I have found that I like to see a deal/no deal number from a candidate. It simplifies things. Women (in my experience) consider soft skills as part of their offering. Soft skills don't find their way into job postings, but they are important for the success of the candidate in the position.. I think women could do a better job in articulating this benefit to employers. Maybe they could phrase it in terms of conflict resolution or problem solving. In other words, it isn't aggressive to sell yourself as a whole person, not just a body of experience on a resume.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

As long as we let them get away with that kind of cr@p, it won't change. etu

Drmrfrk03
Drmrfrk03

I appreciate your input. For about 4 months now I have been really able to perform on par with the IT Help Desk duties, as we have dozens of ms office plugins we support, as well as 6+ legacy applications that don't play well with the newer os's.

ProudCat
ProudCat

Yes, I think everybody understands this. Especially that lots of people were just laid off in our company :-(

jdclyde
jdclyde

bonuses are for when the company is doing well, and everyone is hurting here in Michigan. We are all still waiting to be "blown away" as Granholm promised us years ago.... On the bright side, I have 5 work days left in the year, breaking down to two days next week, one day the next, and two the next. B-)

JamesRL
JamesRL

Its a good idea to pick the right time, like when the company is doing well, and when you've just shown your value by completing a big project etc. That helps make your case. You have to be sure your boss agrees, because they are the ones who have to take the request up the chain. I am happy to still be employed at this point, given many of my company's customers are going out of business. I don't expect much of a bonus this year, but thats ok. I'm ok with Xmas party being cancelled if it means fewer layoffs. James James

jdclyde
jdclyde

With all the current talk about the big three, whenever unions are brought up, the rabid pro-union supporters quickly try to downplay the role by saying just that, "well, it isn't the ONLY reason". But it is ONE of the reasons, and you should look at ALL of the reasons when you are trying to run a business, instead of making excuses for some. Higher wages also results in higher retention, so you can keep people with a known skillset on hand. Turnover has a lot of soft expenses that never show up on a balance sheet.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

Wear whatever we please. Eat whatever we want. Do whatever we damn well feel like. Take responsibility for ourselves. Only apologize for our mistakes, not our existence.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Some chicks get offended when you call them chicks, was the only part I was poking fun at... B-)

marie.truman
marie.truman

lol Today, I don't think one is more to blame than the other. I feel that woman are beginning to fill the gap, but there is still work to be done by both genders. As you pointed out in the study I posted, woman found negotiations by other women more negative than by men. I believe there is a bias built in at a young age that continues forward for both men and female. We are expected to "act" certain ways to be accepted by our peers. So I do not think one is more than to blame than another. I do think that we need to accept and understand we are different and learn not to penalize each other for those differences. By the way us chicks do rock!!! ;)

jdclyde
jdclyde

;\ I have raised my twin boys (now 16 1/2) that REAL men wear pink! B-) In your experience, do you think men or women are MORE at blame for the lower salaries reported for women? How much do you think is a hold-over from working in "a mans job"? Personally, I think you [b]chicks[/b] rock! ;\ [i]just jerk'en your chain... :D

marie.truman
marie.truman

The study is published in the Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes Journal , as stated in the article. I was not able to find a free copy of this study, but there may be access through a library. Women can be there own worse enemies just as men can be their own. There are still biases though that exist. I was shopping this past weekend with my mother to help her pick out pajamas for her granddaughter my niece. All the girl pajamas were pretty pink with pictures of princesses. Starting at a young age the genders are already expected to be different. By the way I convinced my mother to purchase the cute Red/Blue with trains for her.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I simply state what I am worth, thank them for their time, and excuse myself. The first agreed on the spot, the second called me back a week later with a much better offer that I took. I was not in a position where I was desperate for the job, so I didn't HAVE to take it at the lower wage. I guess that is the difference, who needs who, and your confidence in your ability to find people willing to pay for your skills.

lexys
lexys

oh no not you again!! i can see that you're a CEO, so maybe you've lost touch with what it is like to be dealing with the petty stuff. I work at the coal-face, so yes, my job is about the petty stuff. The correct response is that I don't know how to sell myself - but sadly, because you're a big shot CEO, you've missed the whole point. Traditionally women are not taught to "sell themselves" (i'm not talking about prostitution here) or ask for more. "Nice girls" don't tell people what they want, "nice girls" make sure everyone else is happy before their own happiness. Even in this day and age, traditional gender-biasing is very hard to stamp out. What I would like to see is more vocational training for women on how to be able to sell themselves and negotiate for a better salary and be more competitive with our male counterparts.

lexys
lexys

I completed a trade level certificate in computer systems in 2002, with a view to becoming a computer technician. The only work I got into was assembly work (all male bosses). As the years progressed, I eventually landed a job as a "trainee" technician, where I was told by my male boss that they would not look at me as a technician until i had my diploma. I then discovered that the senior technicians I was working with did not have the diploma. Then upon my probation review I was told not only did i perform above and beyond what was expected of me, that I should now call myself a technician, but I get the minimum wage as I am not diploma qualified yet. My colleagues are on far more that what i am and not only that they are rude to the customers and are limited to what products they work on as they don't have training on certain things, whereas I work on everything. They have only been there for 6 months longer than me. Am I my own worst enemy because I proved that not only can women do the job ten times better but i am multi-skilled and know how to deal with customers????? Tell me where I am going wrong in this situation.

jdclyde
jdclyde

women are the biggest stumbling block for women to advance in the real world. Imagine that.

Chaz Chance#
Chaz Chance#

We automatically get a fellow feeling for somebody who is like ourselves in some way, even if we don't consciously recognise the similarity. When you want something from someone, it is a useful communication aid (NOT buttkissing) to employ this. It's not necessary to talk exactly like the boss. Instead, notice the kind of things the boss says, then imagine how the boss would ask THEIR boss for a raise. That is how you are going to phrase it. For a while before the important meeting, notice the boss's body language. Start using it yourself, so that at the time of the meeting you are reasonably comfortable with it. The aim is not to copy everything the boss does, just to mirror about 20% back at them. Manage eye contact. This means, not too much, not too little. When they look away, drop your eyes immediately, which has the effect of giving them permission to look away. When they look at you again, allow about half a second before looking back at them. During long eye contact, occasionally drop your gaze for half a second. This all allows them to have the dominant position, which makes them feel good, and therefore well disposed towards you. I recently did this to the CEO at a management presentation, and later found myself included in on a number of meetings she called, at a much higher level than I am used to. Dress code: If the boss always dresses smartly, this is easy. For a couple of weeks before, you dress just as smartly, and in a similar style. If this isn't possible, try to echo some aspects of the bosses dress style or colour choices - but never let your own standards slip. Have you ever been at a party where you have been able to guess who was whose partner just from their appearance? You want exactly this effect. Done subtly enough, it won't be consciously noticed, and it will have the desired result - making them feel like you must be someone that they would like. What have you done for them? You know what your achievements are, but they are not necessarily some that the boss cares about. But if you did something that made them look good, of saved them work, or got them out of a jam, mentioning that will have more effect than saving the company half a million that wouldn't have come out of their budget anyway. You should mention all your achievements, but know which things to emphasize. Don't take my word for it - read John McKee's articles here at TR, or check out Tony Robbins. < http://tonyrobbinstraining.com > Both of these people know loads about communicating. Finally, don't let self doubt undermine your confidence just before the meeting. Go in there sure you are worth exactly what you are asking for, even if you have to spend half an hour in front of the mirror in the toilet psyching yourself up first.

Drmrfrk03
Drmrfrk03

There are those people out there that when it comes to presentations and they know the material just 'wing it' and then there are those that appear to simply be reading from a script they memorized. Oddly enough, the way my Boss and I communicate are probably the exact opposite of each other. I bring this forth because during the process of putting forth a raise request, should I stand firm in how I function, communicate and process things, or should I tailor my approach to one that she would like? I want to get my points across about how much I've taken on since I've started here, but I don't want to come off like a butt kisser that she can be prone to think. It's difficult with an IT Manager as a boss who 99% of the time will only accept a Yes or No answer, even when the answer warrants explanation.

road-dog
road-dog

Try to research salaries in your area for similar skill sets / positions. This will help you in identifying a number to go after. It is a good idea to have a substantial justification for an increased rate. Identify increased responsibility. Stress improved services and contributions. You wouldn't believe how many people think that having another birthday means more pay. Make sure you show more bang for the buck.