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Is It Time To Ask For A Raise?
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Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
5/22/2014 | 12:22:30 PM
Same problem, different reasons
Not to generalize, but I bet most of the female-to-male gap is due to women not being willing to negotiate as toughly as men when being hired. Once you're in the door, raises are likely pretty comparable. But we often start out on an uneven footing.

Over 55? Likely worried demanding more money will lead your employer to think, "Maybe I can hire two 25-year-olds for that same figure ..."

 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
5/23/2014 | 9:38:44 AM
Re: Same problem, different reasons
Lorna is correct: Research across industries, not just IT, shows women ask for less in the first place, then ask for raises less often. As for the over 55 crowd, I think it is harder for them than anyone to ask for a raise. They can't risk being laid off because they fear longtime joblessness as a result.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2014 | 2:42:57 PM
Re: Same problem, different reasons
@Laurianne: At the risk of sound too much like a self-help guru, I believe nobody takes advantage of us without our permission.

Women can (and should) work on bolstering their confidence and assertiveness.

Folks over 55 have a lot to offer from their years of experience and need to approach work from a positino of strength and confidence.

These days, layoffs are happening at every age group and everyone has to be prepared for them. In fact, recent research I saw out of Europe indicated that the unemployment rate was far higher for young people than it was for those in their 40s and 50s.

Likewise, according to the U.S. bureau of labor statistics, the annualized unemployment rate among those aged 25-34 is 7.4% compared with 5.3% for those aged 55-64.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
5/23/2014 | 2:51:10 PM
Re: Same problem, different reasons
I agree women must help each other and help themselves. That is one reason I have signed on to mentor some younger women.

The issue of comparing your pay to others in the company has never been simple. This is a closely guarded secret in most companies and affects both men and women. It is up to the individual to use salary surveys, personal networks, and industry contacts to learn about salaries at similar companies.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2014 | 3:02:19 PM
Re: Same problem, different reasons
@Laurianne: The Internet has made finding such information a lot easier than it ever has been. Sites such as Glassdoor and Dice are really helpful as well in finding out how your salary compares to others in your field and in your region. Glassdoor also rates employers which is helpful when job searching.

Once you get into the upper echelons of a publicly traded organization, many of the senior leaders' salaries are publicly available and detailed in annual reports, which is another resource for those seeking high-level positions. In fact, it's wise to always read the annual report of a company you're considering working for to find out how much the senior executives are compensated. It can give you a valuable sense of the organization's culture, IMHO.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
5/28/2014 | 3:35:05 PM
Re: Same problem, different reasons
I'm surprised neither that women typically ask for lower starting salaries nor that they ask less frequently for raises. But here's a related question that I'm less certain of: When women do negotiate like men theoretically do, and when they do asks more frequently for raises, how does their rate of success compare to that of their male colleagues? What are the political consequences when a male tries to make a move, versus when a female does so?

In my personal observation, when men are seen as tough negotiators, they're often praised for their shrewd business insight. But when women take on this and other traditionally "male" characteristics, they're often labeled as cold, or catty, or difficult to work with. I'm not sure if Jill Abramson actually fell victim to this sort of bias, or if the NY times fired her for more legitimate reasons. But if there's anything positive about her dismissal, it's that it caused more people to ask whether gender plays a role in professional decisions.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/28/2014 | 8:52:24 PM
Re: Same problem, different reasons
@Michael: I've seen no studies that answer your questions, though I'm going to keep looking as I would love to know the answers.

Anecdotally, I do agree with you broadly speaking. I have seen some women who were able to succeed while being "tough as nails," but the attributes of assertiveness and self-confidence that we encourage in men is often disparaged in women. and might possibly hurt them in the long run.

I don't know enough about jill Abramson's case (other than what we've all read in the news) to know for sure if this was the reason for her firing, but as a woman I'm sure glad that it put this issue on the front burner in the mainstream news media.

Bias against women also exists because of our ability to bear children. While I"m childless by choice, I have friends who have never been able to fully recover their salaries because they decided to take a few years out of the workforce when their children were born.

Curious to know: Have Any other women (or men) here experienced that kind of wage setback after taking extended time off for childcare?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2014 | 2:36:00 PM
Re: Same problem, different reasons
@Lorna: I agree with you on both fronts--and in both cases I think people in these groups can learn to be proactive. Fear is a terrible foundation on which to build life decisions.

I encourage women of all ages to take classes in bolstering their negotiating skills. i've known female professionals who could negotiate the heck out of vendor contracts, but when it came to negotiating on behalf of themselves they could not do it.

As for the over-55 crowd, my feeling about asking for a raise is that if you never ask, you'll never know. In most cases the worst answer you'll get is "no" and I think most people feel that being turned down for a raise means they have to leave their job. That doesn't ahve to be the case. But if one doesn't even ask, the answer is always no, isn't it?
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
5/23/2014 | 12:47:37 PM
Blame the Boss
Let's not put all the blame on women here. How are women supposd to know what their male colleagues are making? Don't know about other non-managers, but I have little insight into how much other folks at my company make so I have no clue whether I'm making more, less, or the same as males or females with the same experience and level of responsiblities I've had over the years. Add to that, a strange mix of old and new digital titles across different organizations, and there's no way to measure it. Read a great column this morning by Kirsten Powers on the same vein: Blame Sexist Employers. Companies have the tools to know who's making what. I put it right on their shoulders.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/23/2014 | 2:49:54 PM
Re: Blame the Boss
@alison: Thanks for sharing that article, it's a valid perspective on an issue that has no easy answers. I've definitely been met with some ridiculous responses in my own salary negotiations. When I was negotiating for a better salary at a job I was considering taking, i was later told the (male) CFO actually said to someone involved in the hiring process: Why is she asking for so much money when she has a husband.

The wildly inappropriate sexism inherent in that statement pretty much tells you all you need to know.

Nonetheless, in the face of that attitude, I was hired by the company -- and at an amount that was only marginally less than what I had originally asked for (which was fine with me b/c rule number one for prospective employees in salary negotiations is to never start with your lowest bid, of course, but to start with your highest bid).

 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
5/27/2014 | 9:44:42 AM
Re: Blame the Boss
I'm angry the 'husband' comment doesn't surprise me. A few months ago, i wrote a series of articles on the now-down site Internet Evolution about women in tech. Several commenters -- some of whom were regular members of the IE community -- posted thoughts such as a 'woman could always be a housewife' or 'her husband will support her.' I was blown away by this ancient thinking. 

Women should take lessons in negotiating if they feel lacking in that department. And, as you say @snunyc, it's smart business to ask a little more than you expect (I recall it backfiring on one former colleague who asked for a lot more money when switching companies!). Women should not be victims but a dearth of information means you do operate in the dark. I admire those handful of companies that openly share employees' salaries. I doubt, but hope, they start a trend.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/28/2014 | 12:06:23 AM
Re: Blame the Boss
@Alison: Jeez, that's depressing, i have to say I continue to be amazed, and angered, every time I hear that kind of attitude perpetuated. There's no doubt we face an uphill battle as women. And, in general, more openness about salary would benefit all workers.

I'm sorry the negotiating ploy didn't work out so well for your friend. It's improtant to ask for what you think you're worth, and also important to have some idea of the ballpark limits that the person on the other side of the negotiating table may have to operate under. A good way to practice these skills is to go out and try to buy a car.

:)

In all seriousness, this topic of equal pay also speaks to the importance of women building a network of male and female peers to whom we can turn with questions so we can fully investigate a potential employer to the best of our ability.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
5/28/2014 | 10:05:06 AM
Re: Blame the Boss
Working with mentors and creating a great support network of male and female peers is a fantastic idea, not only for salary-related issues but for all the ups and downs everyone experiences throughout their career, @snunyc. Sometimes it's easier to blame gender, age, color, or other 'obvious' reason for a hurdle; sometimes that IS the case. Sometimes, it's not. A colleague or peer may have more experience, be better at the job, or have another reason for their higher salary or increased responsibilities. Your network can give you insight. Your manager (and supporters) should point out ways you can improve your role, salary, and responsibilities, too.

 
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
5/28/2014 | 12:59:47 PM
Re: Blame the Boss
Hmmm. You and @Sunny seem to be pretty versed on this issue but I'm curious how this can still be such a problem when so many HR people I've seen in my travels are women? Our top HR person here is a woman. Why would they support anything like that?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
5/28/2014 | 8:46:37 PM
Re: Blame the Boss
@TerryB: THAT is a fantastic question and something that has troubled me for years. In many organiations, HR does not have the power it used to have. I've worked in companies where HR was treated as a "girl's dept" where the work was really about administering health plans and 401K, not truly providing support for the human beings working at the place. (for the record, that is NOT the case at my current place of employment, which has the best HR team I've ever worked with).

It's hard to generalize, but in my experience, HR is given a salary range by those who hold the budget strings and are rewarded for bringing in the best person at the lowest price. Without the empowerment of upper management, many in HR may feel uncomfortable pushing back against the trend?

That's purely conjecture on my part--I'd love to hear from some HR folks out there what their experiences have been.
pjckmen123
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pjckmen123,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/2/2014 | 5:58:05 AM
Re: Blame the Boss
Oh Yes! I'm glad I found your article today. I recommend it to everyone .. Thank you for your work! y8


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