Women in the workplace: Sheryl Sandberg on negotiating our worth

A post on Reddit's TwoXChromosomes is bringing attention back to the wage gap and the role that salary negotiation can play. The post, written by a hiring manager for a multinational tech company, shares insights about the different ways men and women negotiate (or don't negotiate) for better pay.

Via TwoXChromosomes:

Our process, despite the pay gap, is identical for men and women. We start with phone interviews, and move into a personal and technical interview. Once a candidate passes both of those, we start salary negotiations. This is where the women seem to come in last.

The reason they don't keep up, from where I sit, is simple. Often, a woman will enter the salary negotiation phase and I'll tell them a number will be sent to them in a couple days. Usually we start around $45k for an entry level position. 50% to 60% of the women I interview simply take this offer. It's insane, I already know I can get authorization for more if you simply refuse. Inversely, almost 90% of the men I interview immediately ask for more upon getting the offer.

The next major mistake happens with how they ask for more. In general, the women I have negotiated with will say 45k is not enough and they need more, but not give a number. I will then usually give a nominal bump to 48k or 50k. Company policy wont let me bump more than 5k over the initial offer unless they specifically request more. On the other hand, men more frequently will come back with a number along the lines of 65k to 75k, and I will be forced to negotiate down from there. After this phase, almost all women will take the offer or move on to somewhere else, not knowing they could have gotten more if they asked.

At the end, most of the women I hire make between 45k and 50k, whereas the men make between 60k and 70k. Even more crazy, they ask for raises far less often, so the disparity only grows.

This is a critically important issue, but it's not enough to identify the problem and "mansplain" how women should just get out there and demand higher salaries. There are big, underlying reasons why women aren't already doing this and we need to be working to identify and change the way men and women are socialized to understand and express their own worth.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO and one of the most successful Jewish women in business, gave a superb TED talk on why we have too few women leaders and the underlying reasons why men and women act differently in the workplace.

What has your experience been with salary negotiations? What advice would you give your daughter? Where do you see opportunities in your own life to bring change?

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How to cite this page

Berkenwald, Leah. "Women in the workplace: Sheryl Sandberg on negotiating our worth." 1 December 2011. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on February 26, 2024) <http://jwa.org/blog/women-in-workplace-sheryl-sandberg-on-negotiating-our-worth>.