The new numbers reveal the truth in a society which already sees a substantial gender-based wage gap. This gap, in which women earn an average of 20-25% less than their male counterparts, has been hotly contested for years. With this new data, the issue cannot be ignored.
While many critics of the wage gap will say that women simply don’t ask for raises, the numbers disagree. In fact, it’s been found that women are just as likely, if not more, to ask for raises than men.
This evidence raises some red flags. First, the argument that women don’t ask for raises maintains that false information can be taken as fact if discussed frequently enough. Second, and more importantly, it shows that female requests for advancement and/or recognition are handled differently than those of men.
While industry-specific numbers are not readily available, there is a difference in how individuals ask and receive. Women are more inclined to work at a lower rate of pay than men and, typically, are less likely to negotiate for higher pay when, “the ‘rules of wage determination’ are left ambiguous.”
Education appears to be a superficial reason motivating the raise gap, but research shows that MBA holders consistently request raises regardless of gender. This refutes earlier studies in the 2000s which points to a positive trend: women are being empowered at a younger age.
Corroborating these findings, the Harvard Business Review found that younger women in the labor force, “appear statistically indistinguishable – even in “getting” – from the younger men.” This means negotiating behaviors may be changing over time as women feel more empowered.
Maurie Backman of the Motley Fool says that women need to understand the world they live and work in. While seeing change is nice, equality lacks at times. Thus it’s important to know how to approach wage negotiations.
Going into a meeting with research and past contributions is usually a guaranteed way to swing the conversation in your favor. Exuding confidence also goes a long way. However, Backman warns to never play the gender card, saying, “If you accuse your manager of underpaying you on the basis of your being a woman, your boss might get defensive and stop listening.”
When a raise seems due, it seems best to approach it in a way that keeps everyone on the same page.
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