August 13, 2008
Salary Inequities: When Women Don't Ask
Posted by Tina Stark

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School publishes a monthly journal, Negotiation.  The June issue had a disturbing article about new research on women and negotiation.  According to a new book by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, Ask for It:  How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want,

men initiate negotiations to advance their interests about four times more often than women do. . . .Over the course of a woman’s career, the costs of overlooking opportunities to negotiate for her own interests can be staggering.  As an example, Babcock and her colleagues found that only 12.5% of women graduating with master’s degrees from the Heinz School [of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University] in 2002 had negotiated their starting salaries, as compared with 51.5% of male graduates.  Babcock calculated that students who did not negotiate their starting salaries would forfeit at least $1 million in income over their lifetimes.

Salary aside, Babcock says that men are more likely than women to negotiate for resources, training, and other factors that boost job satisfaction and success.  It stands to reason that men who seek out career opportunities will advance more quickly in their organizations than equally qualified women who do not.  In reaction to such inequities, women may grow frustrated and decide to quit.  Given that turnover costs American companies billions of dollars each year, Babcock and Laschever argue that organizations suffer significantly from the fact that women ask for what they need less often than men do.

In a sad Catch-22, research also shows that women who did ask for more money were disliked and penalized.  The article suggests that a woman’s reluctance to negotiate may be reasonable in such instances.  It also notes the following:

Although overt gender discrimination. . . is largely a thing of the past, a more subtle form of inequity persists. . . Rather than intentional acts of bias, second-generation gender biases reflect the continuing dominance of traditionally masculine values in the workplace [emphasis in the original]. 

Although this research might lead one to conclude that women are less good overall as negotiators, researchers have found that when women negotiate on behalf of others they achieved better outcomes than men when bargaining on behalf of someone else.

So, what are the implications of this research for the academy?  Is this something that we should be teaching about in our negotiation courses?  If so, what is the best way to do it?  Or, are these issues best handled in another forum – one more informal? 

Gender Issues | Bookmark

TrackBacks (0)

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Links to weblogs that reference Salary Inequities: When Women Don't Ask:

Recent Comments
Popular Threads
Search The Glom
The Glom on Twitter
Archives by Topic
Archives by Date
January 2019
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    
Miscellaneous Links