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Negotiation Advice for Women

Negotiating is critical for women. We know it leads to better outcomes: women who ask for a raise are more than twice as likely to get one as women who don’t.1 And women of all races are negotiating at similar rates as their male peers:2 a decade ago men negotiated two to three times more often.3 This is a huge step in the right direction. The bad news is that women pay a penalty when they negotiate. They’re more likely to receive feedback that they are “intimidating,” “too aggressive,” or “bossy.”4

As an individual woman, the onus isn’t on you to close the gender pay gap by asking for more. But the next time you do negotiate, we want to ensure you have the information you need to get the best results.

How women can negotiate for more

Learn how to negotiate for higher pay, better roles, and more flexibility with this four-part series from Duke University professor Ashleigh Shelby Rosette. She explains how gender stereotypes influence negotiations and how you can counteract them to get what you want. You can watch each video as a standalone or watch them all in order. Each video has a discussion guide to use with your Lean In Circle or friends.

Five steps women can take to achieve better negotiation outcomes

As part of our Women in the Workplace 2017 survey, we asked more than 70,000 employees from 82 companies about their experiences with negotiation. They shared what works—and what doesn’t. Here’s what we learned.

1. Ask for a raise

Let’s start with the basics. Both women and men who ask for a raise are more likely to report getting one than those who don’t speak up. And women have more reason to ask: men are more likely to say they haven’t asked for a raise because they got what they wanted without asking and are already well compensated.

2. Specify an amount

Women are significantly less likely to ask for a particular amount, but on average, people who are specific receive a greater increase in compensation than those who aren’t. And interestingly, the actual amount of money you ask for doesn’t appear to be as important as just proposing a number.

Did You Know?

Women are 25% more likely than men to say they didn’t ask for a specific amount the last time they negotiated.5

3. Prepare

Many people take the time to research before a negotiation. A much smaller percentage talk to others about how to approach the issue and then rehearse the actual conversation. Make sure you do. There’s evidence that people who take those additional steps are more likely to get a raise.

4. Make your best pitch

Women and men who successfully negotiate for a raise (or a promotion, for that matter) are more likely to make the case that they have:

  • Demonstrated that they are a high performer
  • Taken on a greater workload
  • Taken on the responsibilities of the next level

Did You Know?

People who make a high first offer often get better results. This is known as the “anchoring effect”—the first piece of information in a negotiation acts as an anchor that influences the outcome.6

5. Solicit manager support

People who get advice from managers on how to advance and who land stretch assignments are more likely to receive raises. So speak up and ask your manager for help. It’s particularly important that women push for this type of support because they are less likely to receive it from managers.

Footnotes

  1. LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, Women in the Workplace 2017, https://womenintheworkplace.com/.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, Women Don’t Ask (New York: Bantam Books, 2007).
  4. LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, Women in the Workplace 2017.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Adam Galinsky, “When to Make the First Offer in Negotiations,” Harvard Business School Working Knowledge (August 9, 2004), https://hbswk.hbs.edu/archive/when-to-make-the-first-offer-in-negotiations.