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I work for a large multinational tech company, I regularly hire woman for 65% to 75% of what males make. I am sick of it, here is why it happens, and how you can avoid it.

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DanielMuff Posted: Tue, Nov 29 2011 10:44 PM

Has anyone else read this Reddit? http://www.reddit.com/r/TwoXChromosomes/comments/hvv2m/i_work_for_a_large_multinational_tech_company_i/

Obviously this is a throwaway, my employer would be far from happy to see me talking about this. I am not a researcher and can't offer and statistics, just what I see in my day to day job.

Today I finished interviewing my third new hire this month, two of which are women. They both are getting paid substantially less than the man I hired earlier this month, and to be honest I am getting tired of that. I don't set the wages, I just handle negotiations (HR has to approve every offer I make).

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.

I don't know if this is at all helpful, I feel most of it is common sense, but I see it all the time. How can I help?

TL;DR :

  • Don't be afraid to ask for more, it's not insulting or in any way going to affect your ability to be hired (we can always say no)

  • When you ask for more, give a number! If you let me pick, I will continue to lowball it.

  • Ask for raises, confident people get them more often than high performers in a heavy bureaucracy.

On a small sidenote, the one person who got the most out of us was a highly aggressive, very smart, very confident woman. She nearly doubled the initial offer, which due to how she marketed herself was already pretty high.

edit - spelling error

edit 2 - going home, will respond to stuff when I have eaten dinner :)

edit 3 - g'night all! It was fun, happy hunting, and please, next time we meet, negotiate with me!

So, the author is bitching because women undercut men? I think that the undercutting is brilliant. Women will soon take over whatever position the author was writing about--why would an employer hire more expensive men when they can hire less expensive women?

Also, think of this as a businessperson--which the author obviously isn't doing. She should stop interviewing men and, instead, only interview women. Not not only would the company save money, but the company could have good PR for having a really percentage of women employees. Hell, I would fire her for hiring the more expensive men when she could hire the less expensive women.

The author obviously has an MBA in human resources, for which she learned that undercutting is bad and didn't learn about incentives. She should try to understand why these women take the lower offers. Maybe they agree with me that by undercutting men, they are better able to get a job--or maybe they learned in college to counteroffer by taking the offer and adding 10%.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Eh, I'm not so sure the female candidates "undercutting" the men conciously.  It sounds like they already have the position when they start talking salary numbers.  The company has a set salary range they're willing to pay, if there's a market-rate or production-based rate of pay, they should be trying to get as high as they can unless there's actually competition for the job.  Which, if they're already being offered the job, there isn't.

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I'm with Logistic on this.  The author said flat out the person is in salary negotiations and she can automatically offer more if they simply say they want more.  It's not as if there is some kind of active bidding going on between applicants for the same position.  At that point the person already has the job.  That's why it's called "salary negotiation".  It's yours at the salary they offer.  You can easily ask for more.  If they say "no, we can't afford that, x is the best we can offer to pay you", fine, either take it or leave it.  It's not like some kind of gameshow where you lose the job if you pick a higher number and they say no.

I think the author has a point, and actually might be illuminating yet another perfectly reasonable explanation for the pay gap that has nothing to do with sexism...namely, men are better negotiators.  Which evidently doesn't even take much.

If you want to make a case for why this is a positive thing, (which it sounds like you're trying to do), the way to do that is to simply point out that negotiation is a skill just like any other...and people get rightfully rewarded based on the productivity of their skill.  Obviously, if you're a more skilled negotiator, it pays you more...just like being more skilled at virtually anything if used in the right way.

The author is making a valid point...namely that if women want to make more money they need to wake up do the things that would earn them more money...like ask for it.

 

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I wrote this really long reply, but there was a forum error when I clicked submit. So, yeah. I had a reply, but Telligent ate it.

To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."

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Please rewrite it, as I'm sure it was valuable.

I do like JJ's approach to the issue. While most people look at this and reach for their government guns, why not instead say "hey, let's teach women to ask for more!"

It's amazing how pervasive the statist mindset is. It is literally a utopia. Got problem? Apply more state!

"State on, apply directly to your wallet!" Apply liberally, spin around in circles, do a little chant, and wish for results.

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Daniel Muffinburg:
I wrote this really long reply, but there was a forum error when I clicked submit. So, yeah. I had a reply, but Telligent ate it.

Always always always higlight and copy your text before you click send.  (and if what I'm writing gets even past a paragraph, I click the source button, highlight and copy onto Notepad.  As me how I learned to develop that habit.  Mistakes and mentors, my friend.  The only two ways to learn anything.  The latter are a lot cheaper.)

 

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