Women’s tendency to negotiate salaries less frequently than men may be associated with persistent compensation gaps for women MBA graduates from 26 leading business schools in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia, reported Catalyst’s Anna Beninger and Alixandra Pollack.
Women still make about 80 percent of their male peers in a study of salaries in academic medicine by Harvard’s Catherine DesRoches, Sowmya Rao, Lisa Iezzoni, and Eric Campbell with Darren Zinner of Brandeis.
Likewise, Carnegie Mellon’s Linda Babcock reported that women MBAs earn USD $500,000 – USD $2 million less than their male classmates over the course of a career because because men are four to eight times more likely to negotiate both salary and promotions, and achieve better results in most negotiations.
Babcock, with Sara Laschever, outlined precursors of these negotiation differences based on differences in typical gender socialization.
They posited that many parents encourage boys to take risks, earn money in part-time jobs, and participate in competitive team sports.
In contrast, parents 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.
Their suggestion was supported by findings that the gender-based wage gap is associated with women’s tendency not to negotiate salaries and to avoid competitive work roles, in research by University of Chicago’s John List, Andreas Leibbrandt, and Jeffrey Flory.
They 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 with coworkers.
More women than men applied to the hourly wage role.
Men were 94 percent more likely than women to seek and perform well 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 significantly more likely to walk away from a competitive workplace if they saw alternate employment options.
In contrast, women were more likely to apply if the performance relied on teamwork, not on individual accomplishment, or if the salary was a flat fee independent of their performance.
Men were also more likely to negotiate when there was no explicit statement that wages are negotiable.
However, this difference reversed when women had explicit “permission” to ask for higher salaries and job titles.
Negotiation practices that are generally judged “acceptable” for men are frequently assessed as “overly aggressive” when women use them, according to Babcock.
To counteract this stereotype, she and Laschever advised women to:
- Define personal goals, acknowledging that “everything is negotiable,”
- Research personal “market worth” in comparative job using online resources like Salary.com and Glassdoor.com,
- Reconsider low sense of entitlement to higher salaries and job roles,
- Challenge potential anxiety about negotiation,
- Plan negotiation rationale, citing specific accomplishments, results, value to the organization,
- Practice a positively-stated, confident negotiation “pitch,” offer timing, set an advantageous anchor point, and provide counterarguments to mitigate objections,
- Plan counter-offers and self-supporting thoughts to manage anxiety while maintaining negotiation position and interpersonal rapport.
Collaborative negotiation by cooperative bargaining enables both people to derive value from the negotiation conversation.
They suggest building negotiation courage, comfort, skill, stamina, and strength while focusing on the negotiation goal and delivering value for all parties through a “Negotiation Gym” program.
Foundational negotiation principles were summarized in Getting to Yes: Negotiating without Giving In by Harvard’s Roger Fisher and William Ury.
More recently, Ohio State’s Roy Lewicki, David Saunders of Queen’s University, and Vanderbilt’s Bruce Barry of Vanderbilt detailed their research-based guide to Negotiation.
More than 90% of all negotiators fail to ask “diagnostic questions” that uncover the negotiation partner’s most important needs, priorities, preferences, and even fears, found Leigh Thompson of Northwestern.
Eliciting this information is associated with significantly improved negotiation outcomes, she found.
Television journalist Mika Brzezinski echoed Babcock and Laschever’s recommendations based on interviews with prominent women and men about the persistent gender wage gap.
She distilled disconcerting labor statistics and suggested a model for negotiation:
Women’s reluctance to negotiate may be related to gender differences in attributions of success and failure, suggested Pat Heim.
Women attribute failures to themselves (“internalizing,” “taking it personally) whereas men identify external factors (“blaming”, “rationalizations”) associated with their shortcomings.
In contrast, women attribute success to external factors (“deflection of merit”). Men typically attribute their effective performance to to themselves (“self-bolstering”).
Men are often promoted because they are seen to have “potential,” whereas women are promoted based on their results and accomplishments, noted Heim.
Even factors like attire can influence perception of authority: Men judged women but not other men as less authoritative when wearing “business casual” attire.
Women can systematically develop skills and 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?