Recently, the Career Center’s own Anne Nowak gave a seminar about negotiating your salary with your employer. In case you missed it, here are some of the key takeaways, part III:
Negotiation rules for women
It is 2020 and yet, study after study shows that women are earning less than men and that the glass ceiling hasn’t budged much. One of the reasons women earn less in comparable jobs is that they rarely negotiate their salaries. In part I of this series we showed how much financial difference negotiating makes over a lifetime of work. But only 1 in 5 women ever try to negotiate.
the double standard
Studies show that it is not easy for women to strike the right balance. Men are expected and encouraged to be ambitious, direct, and driven. Those are all positive attributes when relating to men. However, if women display the same behaviors, they are seen as unlikable and met with suspicion and even contempt. One study sent two identical resumes to hiring managers, with one difference: one had a man’s name, the other a woman’s. The managers who received the man’s resume praised his ambition and experience, and said they’d probably hire him; the managers who received the woman’s saw her as unlikable and weren’t sure if they’d like working with her, and passed on the resume. So, the same traits that are seen as positive in men, are seen as negative in women.
Effective strategies for women
In order to negotiate you need to be assertive. But being assertive is seen as negative. So what can women do? It has been shown that women are more effective in their negotiations if they stress “we” over “I,” if they’re more indirect about their needs, or if they position themselves as a helper. Female approaches to negotiation that have shown success:
- “Help me make this work. In order to be most useful to this organization I need….”
- “Here are the resources I need to be more effective for our company……”
- “My mentor/team/supervisor suggests I bring this up …..”
While there are certainly women who have succeeded with the more direct male approach, this more indirect tactic is a good alternative for women who feel ill at ease with traditional assertive negotiation tactics. While it’s best to gauge the specific situation that you’re in, many women have found these shifts in negotiating style beneficial to the end result: a better salary or benefits package.
If you are interested in learning more about negotiation tactics for women, check out former Stanford Business School professor Margaret Neale on Youtube. If you’d like help preparing for an upcoming negotiation, the Career Center can help.
Written by Case Duckworth and Anne Nowak