Salary, Gender and the Social Cost of Haggling

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The Washington Post explains a recent study that examines the social reasons for the salary differences between men and women:

The study, which was coauthored by Carnegie Mellon researcher Lei Lai, found that men and women get very different responses when they initiate [salary] negotiations. Although it may well be true that women often hurt themselves by not trying to negotiate, this study found that women’s reluctance was based on an entirely reasonable and accurate view of how they were likely to be treated if they did. Both men and women were more likely to subtly penalize women who asked for more — the perception was that women who asked for more were “less nice”.

Reaction 1: As a Human Resources professional and former recruiter, I have many anecdotal stories that can support the findings of this study.

Reaction 2: Finally, a study that doesn’t blame women.

Reaction 3: I am a professional who was promoted during her career and given an 11% merit increase — and when I thanked my supervisor but questioned the market data that calculated into my raise, I was told to be more thankful.

There are actually people in HR who say this kind of stuff. These are the same HR leaders who are coaching your leaders. The business leaders of our corporations. Your executive management team.

So yeah, I think this study nails it.

Salary, Gender and the Social Cost of Haggling – washingtonpost.com

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