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Closing the Gender Wage Gap: The Role of Negotiation and Prejudice

Gender Wage Gap: Negotiating May Be the Problem

In today’s world, the gender wage gap is still a contentious issue, as women systematically earn less than men for doing the same job. According to a recent study, one of the main reasons why women earn less might be their negotiating skills.

When it comes to negotiating salaries and raises, men tend to be more assertive than women. A study conducted by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, authors of the book “Women Don’t Ask,” revealed that only 7% of women negotiate their salaries, compared to 57% of men.

Moreover, when women do negotiate, they often do not ask for as much as their male counterparts. In the same study, it was found that women ask for about 30% less than men do.

As a result, it’s no surprise that men generally earn more than women. The problem is that many women are not aware of this negotiating disadvantage, and may not even realize that they are being systematically underpaid.

This is why managers and human resources departments can play a crucial role in righting this disadvantage. A study conducted by faculty at Carnegie Mellon University found that women can be just as effective at negotiation as men, but they need to prepare differently.

Research showed that women are more likely to get a better outcome at the bargaining table when they use a “relational approach” focused on collaboration and empathy. In contrast, men tend to use a “transactional approach” that focuses on winning and maximizing outcomes.

This study reveals that gender differences in negotiation styles can have a significant impact on pay and, ultimately, on the gender wage gap.

Women At A Disadvantage

According to a report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women earn approximately eighty cents to every dollar earned by men for the same job. Even though there are policies and laws designed to combat this phenomenon, women still have a harder time attaining pay equality in the workplace.

While many factors contribute to this gap, one of the primary culprits is that women tend to work in jobs and industries where wages are lower. But even when women work in the same industries and companies as men, they still earn less for the same job.

Moreover, research shows that unobserved differences in skills and qualifications between male and female workers do not account for the wage gap. Even when controlling for factors like education, job experience, age, race, and marital status, the gap persists.

This indicates that the wage gap is not due to differences in productivity or skills, but rather something else. One explanation for this phenomenon is unconscious bias.

In many cases, women are not rewarded the same salaries as men because of unconscious beliefs or stereotypes held by their managers or colleagues regarding their abilities, leadership skills, and overall worth. This is not an easy problem to solve because people are often unaware of their biases.

However, companies can mitigate this issue by conducting regular diversity training for their employees.

Takeaway For Women

Even with policies, laws, and a general push for equal rights, women in the workforce still face hurdles when it comes to pay disparity. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Women can take their futures into their hands by being more active in negotiation. In many cases, conscious negotiating efforts, along with an understanding of unconscious biases, make a significant difference.

Start by practicing the art of negotiation, even if it feels uncomfortable. Seek advice from other mentors and colleagues before heading into the discussion, do research, make a plan, and aim high.

Additionally, acquaint yourself with the range of salaries in your industry and company to better gauge your worth. And remember that unconscious biases can be a significant hindrance to achieving your full potential.

Learn to identify and address them when necessary. Companies can also facilitate education and awareness of unconscious biases to accelerate the shift towards equal pay for all employees.

It is time for women to take back their right to fair pay and equality in the workplace. With a continued focus on education, transparency and change, we can work towards a world where equal pay is the norm and not the exception.

Negotiation is a crucial skill that can be the gateway to career success and increased financial reward. Individuals who can effectively negotiate their salaries and pay raises make an average of 7% more salary than those who do not negotiate.

Unfortunately, statistics show that women tend to shy away from negotiation more often than men. This disparity further contributes to the gender wage gap.

Women Do Not Negotiate as Often as Men

A survey conducted by Glassdoor found that only 31% of women negotiate their salaries compared to 44% of men. Additional data shows that women tend to be more hesitant to negotiate when offered a job and are less likely to ask for a higher salary or pay raise.

Some of the reasons for this negotiating discrepancy could be a lack of confidence, fear of failure, or simply not knowing how to negotiate effectively. Research shows that women who receive mentorship and coaching before negotiations tend to have a higher success rate in achieving their salary goals.

Research Amount of Pay Deserved

Before negotiating, conduct research to determine what is a reasonable salary or pay raise based on your industry, job title, and location. Resources such as salary calculators, industry surveys, and peer comparisons can help to gain insight into how much others in similar positions are earning.

Once armed with research, you can create a salary goal that is reasonable, achievable, and justifiable.

Learn How to Negotiate

Negotiating can be a daunting task, especially if you have never done it before. The good news is that there are resources available for those who want to learn how to negotiate effectively.

The following are some of the essential tips to keep in mind when negotiating:

1. Know your value: Be familiar with your strengths, skills, and achievements before going into the negotiation.

2. Stay positive: Keep the conversation positive, focused, and collaborative.

Avoid negative or aggressive language. 3.

Ask questions: Learn as much as you can about the employer and position to help you craft a compelling argument. 4.

Be specific: State the specific salary figure or pay raise that you are requesting. 5.

Have an alternate plan: Be prepared to offer alternatives such as additional vacation time or a flexible schedule to sweeten the deal. Many online courses and books, such as “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher and William Ury, can help provide an in-depth understanding of basic negotiation principles.

Human Resources and Prejudices

Human resources departments can significantly impact pay equality. HR personnel are responsible for job postings and setting salary ranges, initiating pay increases, and providing oversight to ensure that anti-discrimination policies are upheld.

Breaking down prejudices and altering unconscious biases can lead to a more just and inclusive workplace.

Human Resources Departments Should be Made More Aware of Prejudices

If HR departments are not made aware of their biases, they can perpetuate discrimination. For male-dominated fields, the biases may work in favor of men receiving higher salaries and pay raises than women.

HR teams must take proactive measures to avoid unconscious biases that could lead to discrimination.

Breaking Down Prejudices

One way for HR departments to help break down prejudices is by taking a closer look at job descriptions. Research has shown that certain adjectives and phrasing in a job posting can discourage certain groups from applying.

Eliminating gender-coded language and creating more neutral job descriptions can help attract a diverse applicant pool. Additionally, HR personnel can be provided with diversity training to help them recognize their unconscious biases, which may affect hiring decisions, job postings, and promotions.

Altering Unconscious Biases

Like any habit, unconscious biases can be altered through conscious effort and awareness. HR personnel can be encouraged to pause and consider their assumptions about candidates before making hiring decisions.

Implementing blind screening techniques, such as reviewing resumes without the applicant’s name or gender, can reduce the impact of biases. Furthermore, HR teams can review the salaries of men versus women in similar positions, and initiate a gender pay analysis to avoid disparities.

Addressing and altering unconscious biases are a fundamental step forward in achieving pay equality within a company. In conclusion, for women to receive equal pay and enjoy a healthy work environment, they need to be equipped with the necessary skills such as negotiation.

Human resources departments also need to be aware of their prejudices to ensure inclusivity in the workplace. In summary, the gender wage gap persists, and women are not negotiating their salaries and pay raises as often as men do.

Research shows that women must learn how to negotiate, conduct fair pay research and be prepared to ask for a higher salary. Additionally, HR departments must be made aware of their prejudices and unconscious biases to eradicate pay disparities.

It’s essential to remain optimistic about progress in the fight for women’s equality at the workplace- this can be achieved by educating ourselves and others, practicing negotiation, and addressing biases consciously. By doing so, we can influence and make a vast positive change in our lives and the ones around us.

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