A lot of us (men and women) complain all year that we don’t make enough money, but when it comes down to the 10 minutes for us to fight for ourselves in a yearly review or an interview, we fold up like a lawn chair, much to the chagrin of the voice inside our heads.
And why is it that most men seem to thrive off of the negotiation setting but most women need anti-anxiety meds just to stay upright? What, me? No, I always have this half smile and glassy-eyed glow with a 5-mile stare!
While gender gaps and glass ceilings may be part of the reason why women earn less than men, Linda Babcock, an economist at Carnegie Mellon, created a study to show that typically, women are simply afraid to ask for more money because they worry about “violating social expectations that they’ll be warm and kind.”
In the study Babcock conducted with recent graduates, men were 8 times more likely to negotiate their salaries than women were. And all those who did negotiate (men and women) earned 7.4% more than those who didn’t (canceling out any discrepancies from the gender gap).
So Linda created another ingenious study that would help level the playing field for women.
The participants were 176 senior executives from private and public organizations. The executives all started with the same information: an employee in a software company was being promoted, and they were negotiating compensation for the new position. The male executives playing the role of the employee landed an average of $146,000, 3% higher than the women’s average of $141,000. But with a single sentence, Babcock and colleagues helped the female executives boost their averages to $167,000, outdoing the men by 14 percent. All it took was to tell them they were playing a different role. Instead of imagining that they were the employee, the female executives were asked to imagine that they were the employee’s mentor. Now the women were agents advocating for someone else. Interestingly, they didn’t set higher goals, but they were willing to push harder to achieve their goals, which led them to better outcomes.
In a similar study, an identical result occurred. The salary discrepancy vanished when the women negotiated on behalf of a friend.
So by literally getting outside of their own heads, the females were able to earn more.
So for anyone who struggles with standing up for him/herself in an interview or salary negotiations, picture what your mentor would say or better yet, ask yourself, “What would my best friend say if s/he were speaking for me?”
Or, like in Goodwill Hunting, you can literally have your friend interview for you. Reeetaiiiiiiiiiiiiiner.
Now go get the money that’s rightfully yours.
How have you dealt with salary/sales negotiations? What works or doesn’t work?