Study: Do Women Negotiate Salary? (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012, Liebbrandt & List)
Finding: Women become more aggressive in negotiating wages when the advertisement explicitly states that wages are negotiable; this erases and even reverses the gender differences.
InPower Insight: To help reduce the pay gap naturally in your organization, let women know that salary is negotiable.
The pay gap is real and it’s long been known that men tend to negotiate-up their salaries more readily than women do. This study looked at the dynamics of salary negotiations and found that women are just as apt to negotiate their salary as men are when they’re explicitly informed that salary is negotiable. When such an explicit statement is not made, men still attempt to negotiate their salary and actually prefer these ambiguous situations.
The study also determined that women were more apt to apply for, and negotiate salary, when a “masculine” job (e.g., admin assistant for NASCAR) indicated that the salary was negotiable. This study reinforced previous findings that women were more likely to negotiate their salary in online applications, as opposed to face-to-face job interviews.
Career Coaching Tip: Even if they haven’t explicitly told you that the job you’re going for has a negotiable salary, the likelihood is that is does. Certainly the men you’re up against will assume this and try for a higher salary. Asking for a higher salary, more benefits and other employment perks is a signal that you value yourself. As long as you don’t have an attitude of entitlement, you’re likely to benefit from the attempt to get more. Don’t ask for permission to negotiate, simply represent your worth and make the ask. Be open to all outcomes.