I dislike reality shows. No, dislike is too mild of a word – I hate them. I absolutely hate reality shows. These shows have a way of find the bottom of the pond, scum feeding, classless dregs of humanity that are absolutely willing to auction off their dignity to win. How I envy them.
I don’t envy the skanky girls, or the egghead men. What I envy is their willingness to go -pardon the expression- balls out to get what they want. Yes, it typically amounts to 10 seconds of fame and a few thousand dollars, but how satisfied and fulfilled they must feel to have tried. How much farther in life could women be if we all did the same?
Statistics from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research say that women are paid $0.77 for every full dollar that a man is paid. That number is even worse for women in minority groups. For African-American women the number falls to $0.68 and to $0.58 for Latinas. Why are the numbers so crappy? Much of the time, it’s because we’re not aggressive enough with our careers, and it robs us of the equal footing that we should share with our male counterparts.
What’s the Cause?
To be sure there are some factors that contribute to a woman’s total wage being less than a man’s. Women are often the primary caregivers for children, so they may opt for less advanced careers in order to rear children. They may also decide to take extended years off to care for young children and then return to the workforce, thus losing a few years’ worth of promotions and advancements. But what about us single ladies without children? Don’t we make the same?
No, we don’t. There are arguments as to whether women make less due to historical contexts (men were traditional breadwinners of the family), the types of jobs that the most educated women choose, our ability to negotiate salaries, and the big D word: discrimination. It may possibly be a combination of all those. Sadly, we are not as aggressive as we should be, and when we are, the word “bitch” comes knocking.
What Are We Doing Wrong?
A New York Times article in May suggested that when women ask for salary increases, we are ill equipped to negotiate as effectively as men. While men are able to take a direct approach women should “frame their requests in more nuanced ways to avoid undermining their relationship with their boss.” Does this mean that I should wear make-up, smile, twirl my hair and giggle? It won’t happen and it shouldn’t. According to Linda Babcock at Carnegie Mellon University, there are few critical mistakes that woman make when we negotiate salaries. The first is that we don’t negotiate at all. More than 20% of women never even attempt to negotiate starting salaries. Women also ask for raises or promotions 85% less often than male counterparts and when we do, we ask for 30% less than men. It all works out to us doing the same job for less money and it sucks.
So What Do We Do?
Being knowledgeable about these statistics is the first step in approaching a salary negotiation. The more informed you are, the better your outcome will be. The Times article suggests some ways to negotiate as a woman, but quite honestly, if I want to be paid as a man, I’d like to think the way that they do. I prefer tips spelled out by AskMen.com which teaches the guys how to negotiate.
- Do your research
- Don’t tip your hand
- Understand your value
- Let the company bring up the salary negotiation issue
- Emphasize the benefits of your skills
- Don’t blink
- Be reasonable
- Be flexible
I’d like to add numbers 9 and 10.
- Know your minimum expected salary
- Have a backup plan
Guaranteed Results ?
With all things in life, nothing is guaranteed. I just offer this as something to have in your back pocket in case you find yourself in a situation where you have a job offer that you would like to negotiate or would like to discuss your salary with your current employer. Like the contestants on any reality show, you have to at least be willing to play the game in order to win big.
Oh, and since I know that most of you ladies reading the blog are college educated, you might be interested to know that over a lifetime, the differences in wages results in women with a Bachelor’s degree or higher being paid $713,000 less over her career than a man with the same education. Want to negotiate now?
Image found at Rhapsody in Books Weblog. This post was originally published on 06/29/10, but since I’ve moved into the office for January, I thought we’d revisit it.