Defining why women don’t negotiate their salaries is a complex job not in the least because no one knows where the problem truly lies. Is the under confident internal voice of a woman the barrier or is it the intimidating working environment that neglects to encourage her to discuss her wage? In a study by Glassdoor, 68% of women surveyed had not negotiated their salary compared to 52% of men proving that women are, essentially, settling for less than they might be worth.
And that’s why it’s important, right? We should be paid for what our expertise and hard work is worth in the workplace to compensate for the effort we put in, the years of training we do and our commitment to the company. And at the very least, we should want the salary we deserve out of our own sense of self-worth. So why aren’t women stepping up to negotiate their pay?
Women doubt themselves
The bottom line, is that if you don’t even believe in your own ability to do your job, you can’t really expect your seniors to either. When it comes round to evaluating performance, women often become crippled with self-doubt believing they are underqualified for the position. They think they need a couple more years’ experience before they are ready for a promotion or until they are worth the higher salary. But if the opportunity to negotiate your pay is right in front of you, just take it. Whatever skills you think you lack for the job you can learn on the way.
Other women frown upon it
They say your own worst enemy is yourself, but in gender politics, a woman’s worst enemy, is unfortunately, other women. Oh sorry, was that a bit controversial? As women are often too intimidated to negotiate their own salaries, they become threatened when other women find the courage to push for more and so become really negative about it. Well listen up Negative Nancy, instead of bitching away, why don’t you take a leaf out of that other girl’s book and negotiate your salary otherwise you’ll be stuck working for buttons forever. We need to support each other and encourage each other to want more and push for more, not hold each other back.
Women fear how they’ll be perceived
When men ask for a higher starting salary, it’s seen as a sign of their worth. When men ask for a pay rise, it’s seen as a product of ambition. We pay men based on their potential to do the job. But this is rarely the case for women. When women negotiate their wage they are often viewed as being greedy, arrogant and are assessed based on the skills they currently do and don’t have- not their future potential. So when discussing your salary, outline your future potential and tell your employer why your promotion will have a positive affect on the company, not just yourself.
Women think they should wait to be approached
During my time on earth, I don't think I've ever come across a story in which an employer, randomly, walked up to an employee and offered them a pay rise. I agree, you shouldn’t need to tell everyone how good you are at your job because what you do should speak for itself. But if you really want a pay rise or to negotiate your wage or a bonus, you’re going to have to take that personal horn out and give a toot. Yeah, fucking toot that horn. You don’t need to be arrogant about it, just explain why you’re valuable, because you are. Believe it.
Women read the environment and don’t push past it
You think that if you ask to talk about your salary, your employers will think negatively of you and you feel like if your peers find out you’re asking for more money, they will think differently of you too. You instinctively think this because it’s probably, to some extent, true. The world of work is a hostile battle ground but it’s a battle ground nonetheless. You need to look past the potential stigmatisation and speak up about your salary, because no one else is going to do it for you.
So if you believe you should be paid more, ask for a meeting with your employer and outline why you are valuable, your future potential and the positive implications this can have on the company. And don’t accept your first offer- negotiate it. Because if you don’t ask, you most certainly will not get.