The gender gap in salary negotiation

Org Culture

It’s more or less a status quo that women have it tougher in the office. Due to gender bias and discrimination, females have to go through more obstacles to achieve the same things as their male counterparts. One of the goals women have a harder time reaching compared to men is a higher salary.

Salary negotiation has long been stained with gender issues. Even though more companies encourage women to be more assertive about what they want, men are usually more successful in getting their desired raise. In one study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, this gender gap in salary negotiation is due to the backlash women may receive for being aggressive about their income. It seems the more power a female gets, the more co-workers go against her.

Because of implicit gender bias in salary negotiations, companies cannot leave women to their own devices if they want to encourage them to ask for more. Change needs to happen at the organizational level as well.

Fortunately, there have are strategies companies can follow to encourage salary negotiation. The first is the publishing of annual income reports emphasizing the differences between genders. Companies can point out how the average salaries of each gender compare based on roles, hours, and promotion. This solution will improve workplace equality, but it will take serious commitment as the business is acknowledging that there is a gender gap for this to work.

Another strategy is simply to make the negotiation of salaries transparent. Unlike men who prefer ambiguity when it comes to asking for raises, women will bargain just as much as men, if it is explicitly mentioned that wages can be possibly negotiated. For this solution to work, it is not necessary for females to learn exactly what their co-workers earn. It is sufficient they know the criteria for salary increases.