The Importance of Asking
One of the most important decisions you can make is deciding to negotiate at all. Women negotiate much less often in their daily lives than men, losing out on many benefits when they do so. The most significant loss is in terms of salary negotiation.
The authors of 'Why Women Don’t Ask' give us this stark example
"...suppose that at age 22 an equally qualified man and woman receive job offers for $25,000 a year. The man negotiates and gets his offer raised to $30,000. The woman does not negotiate and accepts the job for $25,000. Even if each of them receives identical 3 percent raises every year throughout their careers (which is unlikely, given their different propensity to negotiate and other research showing that women’s achievements tend to be undervalued), by the time they reach age 60 the gap between their salaries will have widened to more than $15,000 a year, with the man earning $92,243 and the woman only $76,870. While that may not seem like an enormous spread, remember that the man will have been making more all along, with his extra earnings over the 38 years totalling $361,171. If the man had simply banked the difference every year in a savings account earning 3 percent interest, by age 60 he would have $568,834 more than the woman.”
The impact of neglecting to negotiate when starting a new job is so significant and difficult to overcome that some researchers who study the persistence of the wage gap between men and women speculate that much of the disparity can be traced to differences in entering salaries rather than differences in raises.
In their book ‘Get Paid What You’re Worth’, Robin L. Pinkley and Gregory B. Northcraft, estimate that "a woman who routinely negotiates her salary increases will earn over one million dollars more by the time she retires than a woman who accepts what she’s offered every time without asking for more."
We hope you can see how important it is to negotiate and the lifelong effects of not asking for what you want.
Even if women were asking for comparable things and were equally successful at getting what they ask for when they do ask, this simple difference in the “asking propensity” of men and women would inevitably lead to men having more opportunities and accumulating more resources. But women don’t ask for comparable things— they ask for less when they do ask, and they usually get less, too. The net result is a huge imbalance in the distribution of resources and opportunities between men and women. Because women ask for what they want less often than men do, and therefore get what they want much less of the time, the inequities in our society, and all the problems they create, continue to pile up.
In our next blog post we’ll look at the reasons why women fail to negotiate successfully more often even when they do decide to negotiate and even more importantly what can be done about it!