Cisco Systems’ 2013 Global Women in Technology Forum, scheduled for 27 March 2013, focuses sessions around the theme “Think Big, Play Big.”
The planning team includes a number of recent graduate and new hires, and most of these ”Millennial Generation” employees thought that “Thinking Big” referred to knowing how Cisco’s vast portfolio of products “plays” together, rather than “Thinking Big” about one’s career plans, and to boldly ask for salary increases and promotions when merited.
These corporate newcomers were unaware of recent research documenting professional women’s continuing salary gap when compared with male peers, and gender differences in salary negotiation account for hundreds of thousands of lost wages for women.
Anna Beninger and Alixandra Pollack of Catalyst recently conducted longitudinal research that found early and persistent compensation gaps for women MBA graduates from 26 leading business schools in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, reported in The Promise of Future Leadership: Highly Talented Employees in the Pipeline.
Similarly, Catherine DesRoches of Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital with her colleagues found that women still make about 80 percent of their males peers in a study of salaries in academic medicine.
Women worked more hours, spent more time in administrative tasks, were awarded fewer grants, held fewer top titles, had fewer publications, and were paid less than their male counterparts.
These findings reinforce findings by Carnegie Mellon’s Linda Babcock, who estimates that women MBAs earn USD $500,000 – USD $2 million less than their male classmates over the course of a career because women tend not to negotiate the starting salary or those offered on transfer or promotion.
In contrast, Babcock found that men are four to eight times more likely to negotiate for both salary and promotions, and they to obtain superior results in most negotiations.
Babcock collaborated with Sara Laschever in Women Don’t Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation–and Positive Strategies for Change to outline precursors of these negotiation differences based on differences in typical gender socialization.
They argue that many parents encourage boys to take risks, earn money in part-time jobs, and participate in competitive team sports, but are more likely to encourage girls to play collaboratively and value interpersonal affiliation.
These differences enable boys to practice negotiating and competing, and to tolerate disrupted interpersonal relationships, according to Babcock and Laschever.
University of Chicago’s John List, Andreas Leibbrandt, and Jeffrey Flory also concluded that the gender-based wage gap may be attributed to women’s tendency not to negotiate salaries and to avoid competitive work roles.
The researchers posted two identical job ads on internet job boards with different wage structures: One offered hourly pay whereas the other had pay dependent on performance compared to their coworkers.
More women than men applied (1,566 women and 1,136 men) and more women applied to the hourly wage role.
List, Leibbrandt, and Flory reported that men were 94 percent more likely than women to seek and thrive in competitive work roles in a study of nearly 7,000 job seekers across 16 large American cities.
This gender gap “more than doubled” when the reward for performance rose.
Women were far more likely to walk away from a competitive workplace, though not if there were no other good options in their community.
In contrast, women were more likely to apply if the performance relied on teamwork, not on the individual, or if the salary was a flat fee independent of their performance.
When there was no explicit statement that wages are negotiable, as is most frequently true in recruiting situations, men were more likely to negotiate than women.
However, when wages were “negotiable,” this difference disappeared, and even reversed when women had explicit “permission” to ask for higher salaries and job titles.
Babcock’s research also found that women and men evaluate negotiation and interpersonal behavior differently: Negotiation practices and words that are generally judged “acceptable” for men are frequently assessed as “overly aggressive” when women use them.
As a result of this differential evaluation of negotiation practices, Babcock and Laschever urge women to:
- Define goals, acknowledging that “everything is negotiable”
- Research their “market worth” in comparative jobs. Salary.com and Glassdoor.com are two sources
- Re-examine possible low sense of entitlement to higher salaries and job roles, and related negotiation anxiety
- Plan negotiation rationale (citing specific accomplishments, results, value to the organization)
- Practice a positive-stated, confident negotiation “pitch,” offer timing (setting an advantageous anchor point) and counterarguments to mitigate objections
- Plan counter-offers, “self-talk” to resist conceding and to manage anxiety and maintain interpersonal rapport
Their later skill-building guide, Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want, advocates collaborative negotiation by cooperative bargaining in which both people derive value from the negotiation conversation.
Babcock and Laschever outline a six week “Negotiation Gym” to build negotiation courage, comfort, skill, stamina, and strength while focusing
on the negotiation goal and delivering value for all parties.
Basic negotiation principles are shared in Roger Fisher and William Ury’s classic Getting to Yes: Negotiating without Giving In and more recently by Roy Lewicki of Ohio State University, David Saunders of Queen’s University, and Bruce Barry of Vanderbilt in their research-based guide to Negotiation.
Leigh Thompson of Northwestern University reported that 93% of all negotiators fail to ask “diagnostic questions” to uncover the negotiation partner’s most important needs, priorities, preferences, and even fears.
Her research demonstrated uncovering this information can dramatically improve negotiation outcomes.
The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator recommends other negotiation “best practices.”
Television journalist Mika Brzezinski echoes Babcock and Laschever recommendations in Knowing Your Value: Women, Money, and Getting What You’re Worth.
She interviewed prominent women and men to learn their views on the persistent wage gap across genders and distilled latest research, disconcerting labor statistics, and more recommendations for action:
More than two decades ago, Pat Heim pointed to a research uncovering the source of women’s possible reluctance to negotiate: Gender differences in attributions of success and failure in her Hardball for Women:
- Women attribute failures to themselves (“internalizing”, “taking it personally) whereas men to external factors (“blaming”, “rationalizations”)
- In contract, women attribute success to external factors (“deflection of merit”); men to themselves (“self-bolstering”)
Heim observed that men are typically promoted because they are seen to have “potential,” whereas women are typically promoted based on their results and accomplishments,
She shared research findings that demonstrate that men judge women as less authoritative when wearing “business casual” attire rather than when wearing a business suit.
However, men did not judge men as less authoritative when wearing less formal clothing.
These finding suggest that women can systematically develop the skills and enact the behaviors required to close the well-documented wage gap between professional women and men.
-How do you prepare for negotiations and overcome objections during negotiations?