Do women avoid salary negotiations?
It’s hard not to feel down-trodden after hearing the latest statistics about the gender pay gap. An ABS study shows the average male worker earns more than $13,000 a year more than his female counterpart, a staggering blow to women trying to build their career.
While many studies prove this gap, few try to explain why this trend continues. One such study has been released which gives insight into a possible reason why women earn less and what we can do to change it.
Monash University’s Andreas Leibbrandt teamed up with a scholar at the University of Chicago to look at the way women and men approach salary negotiations. What they found is quite surprising: women aren’t worse at salary discussions than men, but they do need to be prompted.
Researchers found that women were more likely to apply for jobs that advertise the starting salary as negotiable. When a job description listed a fixed salary only 8 percent of women tried to negotiate this figure, versus 11 percent of men.
"By merely adding the information that the wage is 'negotiable,' we successfully reduced the gender gap in applications by approximately 45 percent," economist and study author John List told reporters. His research suggests that pay disparities between the sexes might be because women tend to "play by the rules" in job interviews, while men are more daring and open about asking for a higher wage.
So how does this help you get a fairer salary? The study shows women are more reserved when an employer doesn’t broach the topic of money first, even though the starting figure might not be fixed.
When applying for a job, don’t feel discouraged if the job description says the salary is set. There is no harm in being assertive and enquiring about your pay, so take a leaf out of the men’s manual for job hunting and be the first to raise the subject of salary in your next interview.
Sophie Miura is madison’s health and feature writer
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