A while back, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the persistent wage gap between men and women. A quote in the article’s sidebar read, “Studies all show one critical difference between men and women in the workplace: the vast majority of men negotiate an employer’s offer. The vast majority of women do not. Counter ladies, counter.”
Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever wrote about this in their book, Women Don’t Ask. As the title implies, their research yielded exactly that – men ask for what they want and women don’t. Women assume that employers will be “fair” and offer the highest amount they can reasonably offer; they sit back and wait in polite difference. Men negotiate. The benefits of negotiation are not limited to higher salaries. Employers perceive employees that negotiate as more valuable. Your employer is more likely to perceive you as worth the extra $5,000 a year if you think you’re worth it enough to ask for it.
After finishing the book I was inspired and promptly wondered what it was I could ask for. At the time, I was living in San Francisco and rent prices had dropped due to the tech bust and consequent exodus. I wrote a letter to my apartment building’s property management company and asked to pay $100 less a month in rent. Asking worked; I saved $1,200 in rent that year. Asking made me feel confidant and powerful.
Let’s narrow the wage gap ladies. Do your research, make your case, and ask for what you’re worth.