Do women ask for raises, negotiate, and get them?

New research came out this week by the Cass Business School, the University of Warwick, and the University of Wisconsin about whether women ask for pay raises and receive them at the same rate as men. 

After reading a few articles such as the New York Times and Forbes summarizing the study, I needed to read the research for myself. After reading the study, I disagree with the conclusion that women and men are equally likely to ask for pay raises but women are less likely to receive them. 

Here’s why:

48% of the men surveyed thought their salary was negotiable but only 32% of women thought the same. 

From the start, if you don’t think that your salary is negotiable, then you will not ask for a raise. Period. The study does not evaluate why there is a more than 16% difference between women and men about thinking whether their salary is negotiable. This is the main problem. Women are less likely to think their salary is negotiable and therefore, will not ask. 

The study also states, “It might be that men ask for raises earlier and more frequently than women and that this is why men are more successful than women at eventually securing a raise.” 

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The Millennial generation is showing progress in pay negotiation success. According to the study of 4,600 Australian employees, women under 40 were receiving raises at a similar rate as men. 

So what can we do now to close the gender pay gap? According to the World Economic Forum, it will take 118 years for the economic gap between men and women to close. I don’t know about you but I really don’t want to wait that long. 

  • Do your research. Stay informed about salary trends so you know where your salary falls according to industry standards. Recruiters in your industry may send out yearly salary reports with this information. Also, you can ask men and women in your network for their average salary so you have an idea about the salary ranges in your area.   
  • Keep your current salary information private. When negotiating, do not divulge what you currently make. Massachusetts recently passed a pay equity law, which bans employers from asking potential employees their salary history during the hiring process. Redirect the "What is your current salary?" question by telling your potential employer what your salary requirements would be for the new position. 
  • Ask early and ask often. Always negotiate a new job offer even if you want to immediately say yes. You could be leaving money on the table! Keep track of your accomplishments so you are able to articulate your value. Ask often with thoughtful research of your achievements and industry trends to support your position so you can stay on salary track.

It's easy to feel discouraged with the headlines this week. Does that mean we should just stop asking for raises? Of course not. 

If you don’t think your salary is negotiable, ask yourself why not? Feel uncomfortable asking for a raise or negotiating a new job offer? Ask for help so you can get comfortable and confident. Click here to get started.