Women Do Ask For Raises

Author: Barbara Palmer       

When comparing equally qualified people who are doing the same job, men on average earn 10 to 20 percent more than women, according to labor economists. The results of the 2018 Convene Salary Survey, put our survey respondents north of the center of that range: The average salary for male respondents was 16.6 percent higher than the average salary for female respondents. 

Why the gap? Many experts have pointed to differences in the way that men and women approach salary negotiations to explain the gender-related wage gap. Women generally are less likely to go to bat for themselves and ask for a raise, Sarah Laschever, the coauthor of Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want, told Convene podcast host Ashley Milne-Tyte. 

But, according to a study published in the June issue of Harvard Business Review, women do ask for raises as frequently as men do — they just don’t get them as often. “Holding background factors constant,” according to the study’s authors, “women ask for a raise just as often as men, but men are more likely to be successful. Women who asked obtained a raise 15 percent of the time, while men obtained a pay increase 20 percent of the time. While that may sound like a modest difference, over a lifetime it really adds up.”

[pullquote]Perhaps the world really is beginning to transform.[/pullquote]

The major finding of the research — that women do ask for raises — holds up in large and small companies, and for women with and without advanced levels of education, wrote the study’s coauthors, Benjamin Artz, the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Amanda Goodall, University of London; and Andrew Oswald, University of Warwick. “We also demonstrated that the finding is not because female workers have shorter lengths of job tenure or behave differently than men when they have dependent children.”

The results of the study, which used data from Australia, revealed age-related differences as well. Younger women are indistinguishable statistically from men in the same age group, both in the rate at which they asked for raises, and the rate at which raises were granted as a result, the authors wrote.

“It could be that negotiating behavior through the years has begun to change,” they wrote. “Future research may be able to decide whether true changes are going on in the modern labor market. Perhaps the world really is beginning to transform.”