Why women don't negotiate their salary or increment

It’s that time of the year again when the office is beset by rumors, whispers and overall a lot of anxiety. For a long time now, April to me has meant a time period of appraisals and the culmination of a year’s hard work into one number.

Appraisals also go hand-in-hand with the annual increments. However, as per this Harvard Business review article, there is a stark difference between men and women negotiating on their pay. In one of the experiment, the difference was as high as half the men negotiating vis-à-vis only one-eighth the women. The negotiation for salary is not an instance limited to taking up a job offer but also every year at the time of annual discussions.

What is interesting is that as per this article, the gender gap when it comes to negotiation was much lesser when it was specifically mentioned that the salary was negotiable.

As someone who has personally never really had the courage to negotiate her own salary, I could come up with some reasons why women do not really negotiate.

1. Avoid awkward conversation

Salary negotiation can be a tricky topic to negotiate. There is a tendency for us to become like an ostrich in this circumstance and ignore it altogether rather than brave it out.

2. It feels crass

A lot of us do our jobs simply for the satisfaction and security of the salary at the end of the month. However, we do not feel right talking about it. In our society, money talk has long been considered crass. Talking about it work can be uncomfortable at a different level altogether. In my defence, I have often told myself that I am doing by job for the continuous learning opportunities rather than simply the money. Are you telling yourself some story too?

3. Actions speak louder than words

Ever thought about it this way? I am working my ass off the whole year. After that why do I need to go around talking to people and asking for a raise? My work should talk for myself and I should be offered a raise anyway. Alas, no one is a mind reader especially in corporate where you are just one of the many high-potential hard-working employees. Making your objective, especially if it is a good pay hike or salary is extremely important.

4. Social conditioning

It is only since the last few years that women have really made major headway in the corporate world. Asking for our rights is often still seen as aggressive and pushy whereas the expected behavior is to be demure and keep our heads down and work. The possibility of having to break that barrier does not seem worth it to a lot of us.

5. The fear of rejection

The last but one of the most obvious ones. A lot of us are just not confident about our own worth and often end up wrongly fearing rejection. Not everyone who negotiates will be successful, but we must still be trying.

Do you identify with any of the reasons above? Have you ever negotiated your salary? How did you overcome any qualms you might have had?

Let me know in the comments below or email me at aparna@elementummoney.com