'Do women avoid salary negotiations?'


Women are just as willing as men to negotiate for more pay, a new study has revealed.

Men, however, are more likely than women to ask for more money when there is no explicit statement in a job description that wages are negotiable, the study at the University of Chicago showed.

"We find that simple manipulations of the contract environment can significantly shift the gender composition of the applicant pool," UChicago economist John List, the Homer J. Livingston Professor in Economics said.

Women were three times more likely to apply for jobs with negotiable salaries and to pursue negotiations once they applied, the study found.

Among those responding to an explicit salary offer, 8 percent of women and 11 percent of men initiated salary negotiations. When the salary was described as negotiable, 24 percent of women and 22 percent of men stated salary discussions.

"By merely adding the information that the wage is 'negotiable,' we successfully reduced the gender gap in applications by approximately 45 percent," List said.

Previous studies have shown that men are nine times more likely than women to ask for more money when applying for a job, but this paper is the first to use a field experiment to look at gender differences in the way men and women approach salary negotiations.

The findings were published in "Do Women Avoid Salary Negotiations? Evidence from a Large Scale Natural Field Experiment," published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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