Women are less likely to ask for raises—and less likely to get them

When it comes to salary negotiation, it's a man's world

Last year, a study by Earnest found that only 26% of young women negotiate job offers. 

According to a new study by Paysa, this dilemma isn't unique to young women starting out in their careers—in fact, compared with their male counterparts, women don't negotiate all that much when it comes to salary raises, either.

To conduct the study, Paysa asked more than 2,000 U.S. employers and employees in various industries, positions, and stages in their careers a series of questions about salaries, negotiations, and pay raises. The survey specifically asked respondents:

  • How often they've inquired about getting a raise;
  • Their likelihood of succeeding when asking for a raise; and
  • Their perspectives on the best—and worst—reasons to request a raise.

In regard to female employees compared with male employees, Paysa found:

  • 41% of women never ask for a raise;
  • 42% of female respondents were denied raises, compared with 33% of male respondents; and
  • When employers say that raises aren't on the table, 34% of women are discouraged from requesting anyway, compared with 32% of men. 

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When asked about the outcome of the last raise they requested, moreover, female respondents answered all three of the following at rates lower than their male counterparts:

  • Received a raise at amount requested, 33.29%  for females compared with 36.19% for males;
  • Received a raise lower than requested, 15.66% for females compared with 20.44% for males; and
  • Received a raise higher than requested, 9.08% for females compared with 10.26% for males.

Paysa also broke down the specific industries that survey respondents considered best at granting raise requests. When it came to education, men were more likely (72.2%) than women (68.9%) to say the field is the best when asking for a raise. 

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This makes sense when considering women in higher education still only earn 80% of what men make and female professors are less likely to be perceived as "brilliant" and "genius" than their male counterparts.

Writing for HR Dive, Valerie Bolden-Barrett urges employers to "be wary of unfair practices and audit their own programs carefully," since inequities in raise practices could certainly be contributing to the gender wage gap at large.

And as for women themselves, bolstering negotiation skills could be crucial—which is why Boston officials offer free, two-hour salary negotiation classes to any woman working in the city (Bolden-Barrett, HR Dive, 4/7; Paysa.com, 2/9).

Get the quick facts on the state of women in higher ed

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