Why Women Don’t Ask for More Money, with Ashley Milne-Tyte

Listen On:

Transcript

Mac Prichard:

Hi, this is Mac from Mac’s List. Before we start the show, I want to let you know about my new book, Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. I’ve been helping job seekers find meaningful, well-paying work since 2001, and now I’ve put all my best advice into one easy-to-use guide. My book shows you how to make your resume stand out in a stack of applications, where you can find the hidden jobs that never get posted, and what you need to do to ace your next job interview. Get the first chapter now for free, visit MacsList.org/anywhere

This is Find Your Dream Job; the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life. I’m Mac Prichard, your host and publisher of Mac’s List. I’m joined by my co-host, Ben Forstag, and our guest co-host Kristin Schuchman. Jessica Black is out of town.

This week we’re talking about why women don’t ask for more money in a salary negotiation and what they can do about it.

Research shows that women are less likely than men to ask for more money when negotiating salary. And that reluctance is a major reason for the gender pay gap between women and men. Our guest expert this week is Ashley Milne-Tyte. She says women can successfully get more money, and she will tell us how they can do it. Ashley and I talk later in the show.

Your co-workers probably don’t know what you earn, but one way to close the wage gap between women and men may be to share salary figures with everybody in the office. That’s the provocative argument of an article Ben Forstag has found. He’ll tell us more in a moment.

Your employer has promised to pay for your graduate degree and you’re ready to start school. But what do you do when you can’t get your boss to say yes to your enrollment? That’s our question of the week and it comes from listener, Samantha Marshall, in Portland, Oregon. Our guest show host, Kristin Schuchman offers her advice.

First, as always, let’s check in with the Mac’s List team, and I want to welcome career coach, Kristin Schuchman back to the Mac’s List studio. Regular listeners may recall that Kristin and I talked way back in episode 24, and she shared with us her advice and insights into how you can return to work after taking a break to care for family. If you’re interested in learning more about Kristin and her work, please visit her website. That URL is APortlandCareer.com. Kristin, thanks for joining us here at the Mac’s List studio and filling in for Jessica.

Kristin Schuchman:

Glad to be here.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. Well, Kristin, Ben, our topic this week is women and salary negotiations. And all three of us have been managers in our careers. When you two have seen women get higher salaries in the workplaces, whether you have negotiated with them yourselves or they’ve been your colleagues, how have they done that?

Kristin Schuchman:

I think in many cases it’s being willing to take more responsibility in a position, and put yourself out there, taking more responsibility before you’re asked to do so. And then just showing up with professionalism and being a team player…all of the things that we’re told to do in life, in our careers, but just taking that extra effort to show initiative. And being willing to negotiate for salaries that we want, you know, and being up on what people in our position are being paid, the going rate?

Mac Prichard:

Good advice, and I was surprised in reading about this topic and getting ready for the show, what a difference there is in gender between people asking for money at all. And I know Ashley is gonna talk more about that as well.

Kristin Schuchman:

Right.

Mac Prichard:

Ben, how about you?

Ben Forstag:

I think that the big issue here is just being willing to ask for money, and that sounds like a simple solution, but it’s really hard I think. And I know from my experience, you know, we run a podcast, we have a blog, and we explicitly tell people, “Show your value, ask for money. Here’s how you negotiate salaries whether you’re starting or you’re an established employee.” And even though we’re very clear this is what you should do, when people interact with me, especially female employees, they often seem embarrassed to be asking about it or ashamed to be asking for it, and like I shouldn’t have to do this, but I say, like, “No it’s okay! We expect you to do this. I want you to be doing this. This is how you get the salary you want.”

And I think there’s just this cultural expectation that women don’t ask for money or shouldn’t be asking for money and that gets ingrained and people have a hard time breaking free of that expectation.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, I agree. And the good news here is that salary negotiation is a skill and if you put your mind to it and invest the time, you can learn how to get better at it, and even more comfortable with it. I know Ashley is going to have some specific suggestions that women, and anybody can follow when negotiating salary. So we’ll get to that in a moment. But first Ben, let’s turn to you cause you’re out there every week; searching the nooks and crannies of the internet, looking for websites, books, and tools, people can use in a job search or to manage a career. What have you found for our listeners this week, Ben?

Ben Forstag:

So this week I want to talk about an article I found that I thought was really interesting. And it’s about one of the more touchy subjects in the workplace, which is, talking to your colleagues about your salary.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, this is certainly something I don’t think a lot of people do, except perhaps with close colleagues and co-workers.

Ben Forstag:

Even then, I’ve been in workplaces where the managers basically said, “Don’t talk about your salary to anybody.” And really, any discussion about compensation was not to be had in public. I’ve been in other places where that was not a message coming from management but it was clear that everyone didn’t want to talk about their salaries.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, there’s an old show from the 1970s called “Lou Grant” that was about journalists in Los Angeles and I probably watched scores of those shows. I only remember one plot and that was the story that followed when somebody left the salary list on the photocopier and everybody in the newsroom found out what everybody else made.

Ben Forstag:

And how did the ladies fare in that episode?

Mac Prichard:

Uh, not well.

Ben Forstag:

So not much has changed in forty years or so?

Mac Prichard:

I’m afraid not.

Ben Forstag:

So, you know, not discussing salary with colleagues is one of the great unwritten rules of the office and I think the rationale behind this is that disclosing your salary to others will create tensions or jealousies in the office. And of course some organizations pressure employees to keep quiet about their salaries. I spoke about one just a minute ago. There’s several reasons for this and some of those are benign, you know, to make a good workplace culture, and others are more nefarious, in order to maintain payroll discrimination.

Here’s the key though- there’s actually no law that says you have to be silent about your pay. And the National Labor Relations Act that passed almost a hundred years ago now…not quite…more like eighty years ago, actually expressly protects most workers who disclose their salaries. There’s a few niche industries in places where that’s not the case, but most of us, if we want to talk about our salary, we’re free to do that.

So one of the arguments for why you should be open about your salary is that it can help close unfair wage gaps. We all know that women generally make less than men for the same job, and racial minorities generally make less than whites. The only way to know if you or a colleague are actually victims of pay discrimination is for everyone to be transparent about what their salary is.

So the writer of this article, this is from Inc.com by the way, really encourages people and organizations to start sharing what your salary is so that people who are being prejudiced against have an opportunity to make a claim and get what they deserve.

Mac Prichard:

Well that’s a provocative idea, and I’ll be curious to hear if any of our listeners follow up on it.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, I mean I think there is probably a share of political danger here if you’re organizing this kind of level of activity, and there might be some organizations where management doesn’t like this kind of thing, so you need to practice caution there.

But they had an interesting story there about Google, where a female engineer at Google was curious about what everyone was making and just started a spreadsheet and just asked all of her co-workers that she could find, “Please share what your salary is so we can compare who’s making what.” So about five percent of Google’s workforce ended up adding their salary to the spreadsheet. It was completely open to all employees to see, and she said that just based off that small sample size, and of course Google is a very large organization, so five percent is a lot of people…other engineers, female engineers, engineers of color, were able to go and basically say, “I’m being underpaid and you need to make this right.” And management had no other recourse than to give those folks pay increases.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, it’s hard to argue with the numbers when they’re there in black and white.

Ben Forstag:

Absolutely. So if you want to read more about this, this is a news article that was at inc.com it’s called ‘Why You Should Tell Your Co Workers How Much Money You Make.’ And I will have the link in the shownotes.

Mac Prichard:

Well thank you, Ben, and if you have a suggestion for Ben, please write him and we may share your idea on the show. Ben’s address is easy to remember, it’s ben@macslist.org

Now let’s turn to you our listeners, and Kristin Schuchman is here to answer one of your questions. So Kristin, what’s in the Mac’s List mailbag this week?

Kristin Schuchman:

This week we have a question from Samantha Marshall, in Portland.

Samantha Marshall:

“Hi, my name is Samantha, and I’ve been working at my job for a couple years and a few years ago, my managers told me they would help me pay for grad school. But now every time I bring it up, they push back and they say that they’d have to consider it. I really, really want to go back to school but I can’t afford it on my own. How would you suggest that I advocate for myself and get support in that? But I also don’t want to ruin my good relationship with my manager. Thanks.”

Kristin Schuchman:

To help you answer this question, I would first want to know if you initiated the offer to pay for grad school or whether or not they have a history of paying for school, and how likely this degree is to improve your performance and your career satisfaction, or your salary and chances for advancement. So, there’s some mitigating factors there. To be honest, you do potentially run the risk of straining your relationship if the offer wasn’t sincere.

But I think what you have to ask yourself is, what is more important, earning the degree or advancing in your current organization? If the degree is more important to you, and it’s potential to help your career happiness and satisfaction than the job, then you’ll need to weigh those factors.

We’re always in the best negotiating position when we’re truly willing to walk away. It’s not an easy decision, but if your employer did promise you something that they’re now shirking, it’s worth asking yourself, if given this sort of chink in the armor of their integrity, are they an organization you see yourself with long term? And if you really do want them to pay for your degree, and you really want to be there long term, you might do some homework just to prove that this degree will help you to perform better, and improve the organization. Use specific, and if possible, measurable indicators to make your case.

And as always, just always be willing to check in with yourself and ask yourself, you know, what are you willing to walk away from, what are you willing to put up with? And it’s not an easy decision to take that tack but, you know, be willing to just be honest with yourself.

Ben Forstag:

I’m gonna echo some of your sentiments here, and I think part of this is that we need to get a little more forensic about this question. So how exactly did the employer previously promise to do this? Is this part of your written contract? Is this something they’ve done for other employees? Do you have any documentation, or was this just kind of an aside comment from a manager, you know in their office?

I think if you’re really lining up big life events, and frankly, expenses for the employer like this, you want to get as much documentation on the front end as possible. And ideally it’s part of the established compensation package for you or other employees, or at the very least, if this is a special situation that they’re doing for you, get it in an email or something where there’s a written documentation so that you can go back and say, “I’m asking for this now because you promised it six months ago.”

Kristin Schuchman:

Right. I think that’s a really good point, and it’s also worth mentioning, you know, has this been offered to other employees? And maybe just ask around and ask people, you know, and it could be something that was made in an offhand comment that wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. But again, I go back to, if you feel like you can make a case for making the organization better and improving your own performance, then make that case.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, and I think for good or ill, you might have to make that case repeatedly even if they decide to fund your first semester. You might need to make that case again at the beginning of the second semester, saying like, “Here’s what I’ve learned, here’s why this is valuable to the organization, here’s why getting a grad degree is making me a better employee for you right now and into the future.”

Kristin Schuchman:

Right. And share what you’re learning as you’re learning it, you know, bring those results to the table.

Mac Prichard:

I think you’re both making great points. The only one that I would add is, consider looking for hooks. So for example, if your annual review is coming up, make this part of the discussion of the coming year and what you hope to accomplish. Or if the company has a budget cycle, every firm does, and there’s a professional development budget, know what the deadlines for that budget cycle are and get in front of your manager. That would be my advice, and talk about that.

Or finally, if there’s an admission deadline at the school that you want to attend. I think all three of those events offer one more reason to go to your manager and try to get confirmation. I think the key here, and you’ve touched on it Kristin, is how hard you push.

Kristin Schuchman:

Right. Because there could be a point when you do push too hard and it could affect you.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. Any thoughts about what the point of no return might be? I’m not sure, because I don’t know these people.

Kristin Schuchman:

Yeah, I think it goes back to checking with yourself, and when you’re willing to walk away. You’re always in the best negotiating position when you’re willing to walk away. But if you’re not then, keep that in mind.

Mac Prichard:

Well thank you, Samantha for the question. If you’ve got a question for us, please email our Mac’s List teammate, Jessica Black. Her email is jessica@macslist.org. Or call our listener line. That number is area code 716-JOB-TALK. That’s 716-562-8255. If we use your question on the show, we’ll send you our new book Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. And we’ll be dropping one in the mail to Samantha this week. And we’ll be back in a moment, and when we return I’ll talk with this week’s guest expert Ashley Milne-Tyte.

Most people struggle with job hunting. The reason is simple; most of us learn the nuts and bolts of looking for work by trial and error. That’s why I produce this podcast, to help you master the skills you need to find a great job. It’s also why I wrote my new book, Land Your Dream Job Anywhere. For 15 years of Mac’s List, I’ve helped people in Portland, Oregon, find meaningful, well paying, and rewarding jobs that they love. Now, I’ve put all of my job hunting secrets in one book, that can help you no matter where you live.

You’ll learn how to get clear about your career goals; find hidden jobs that never get posted; and ace your next job interview. For more information, and to download the first chapter for free, visit Macslist.org/anywhere.

Now let’s turn to this week’s guest expert, Ashley Milne-Tyte.

Ashley Milne-Tyte is a podcast host, and radio and print reporter, based in New York. She’s reported extensively for Marketplace, the public radio business show, as well as local stations and smaller shows. Ashley teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her podcast on women and the workplace, The Broad Experience, has been featured on Best Podcast Lists in the Guardian,  Fortune, and Entrepreneur magazines. She joins us today from New York City.

Ashley, thanks for being on the show.

Ashley Milne-Tyte:

Sure, thanks for having me.

Mac Prichard:

Well our topic this week is women and salary negotiation. Let’s start with the research, Ashley. Tell us about these studies that find that women negotiate less for salary and that men ask for more money when they do negotiate.

Ashley Milne-Tyte:

So yeah, there are a number of studies that show that women ask to a lesser extent than men, so they just don’t make that pitch for more money in the first place. I should say that more recently, there is research that seems to show that women are asking more. I think the interest in women and negotiation has really swept up during the last several years that there’s been a lot more emphasis on women in the workplace. It has become quite a big news story. Whereas when I first started reporting about all this, it really wasn’t. It was sort of under the radar.

But my experience, and that of nearly everyone I know, is that women don’t even think to ask for more money to the same extent that men do. So you have, at the very beginning of women’s careers, this widening salary gap because a young man is just more inclined to negotiate his first salary than a young women is. A young women is more likely to go, “Thanks very much. I’ll take it.” And a guy is just that more likely to say, “Well thank you very much, but how about x amount instead?”

So, you find this even at much later stages of women’s careers; that we just don’t feel comfortable negotiating. In many cases, talking about money isn’t something we were raised to do, it’s not something that our parents talked to us about, and it makes it difficult to talk about it even when you’ve been working for ten, twenty, or even thirty years.

Mac Prichard:

And how can… it’s fascinating that once that process starts, it becomes difficult to change it and you mentioned that one of the reasons that women are uncomfortable negotiating is for cultural reasons. Are there other reasons out there, Ashley, that stop women from asking for more when they’re negotiating salary?

Ashley Milne-Tyte:

Well, I think that it is all based around how we are received by the other party when we do negotiate. So, one of the major findings around negotiation has been that women…we’re afraid of the backlash we’ll get if we do ask for more, because we know that as women we are supposed to be nice, and pleasant, and accepting, and smiley, and all these things. And  it seems to us that when we’re talking about money and asking for more of something, for many of us, that makes us feel like we’re being, you know, a bit rude. That it’s not really the “done thing” to ask for more. That we’re pushy, which is a word that’s associated with women negatively.

It’s accepted that men will be pushy, because they are thought to be these people that need to ask for more money because they’re supporting a family. But of course, the vast majority of women are doing that now, plus we should be rewarded on our work, whatever it is, even if we have a spouse who earns a million dollars a year.

So I think it is all based around culture and our own feelings about ourself when we negotiate. We know internally, subconsciously, that we can be perceived as pushy and not nice if we ask for more money. And that makes us hold back, but you know there have been various studies that fascinatingly show that women actually negotiate very well when we’re negotiating for somebody else.

So we can get just as good takings, if not more, than men when we’re negotiating on behalf of somebody else. And you’ll find this, with, you know, a lot of women are in the arts world and some of  them are agents. I have a friend who’s a literary agent, and she says, “I’m great at negotiating for my clients. It’s just when I’m negotiating for me that I fall down.” And that has been born out in experiments as well.

So it’s all about the social backlash. And I think, you don’t even necessarily spell this out to yourself when you’re in this situation. It took me a while to realize what was going on with me. When… why I was so uncomfortable asking for more money. But you know it all comes back to that sort of inner knowledge that we’re not, quote, “supposed to be behaving like this”, and of course there are people who are brilliant at negotiating and don’t have any qualms about doing it.

But I do think for many women, and for some men as well, it’s tricky and we feel awkward about it. But there are ways to get around it and you don’t have to and it can work, so don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, or you will be punished if you do it. Because there are ways that you can negotiate perfectly professionally, and get what you want.

Mac Prichard:

Well I want to talk to about some of those ways in a moment, and also a little more about the discomfort that women feel when they negotiate and how to overcome that. Before we move on to that, one of the things that fascinated me as I was preparing for the interview was that you had reported about a study in your work that found that when women do negotiate they worry…the research found that it actually can damage their image with both male and female managers. Tell us more about that.

Ashley Milne-Tyte:

Yeah, it’s interesting isn’t it? Because I think a lot of people might assume that it’s just with men that that can be an awkward transaction, right? Because men expect women to be pleasant and obliging, and the rest of it. But in fact, women expect women to be obliging and pleasant, to just the same extent, and that’s because we all grew up in the same society, surrounded by the same expectations for male and female behavior. There’s no difference, largely, in the ways between which men and women are raised.

So yes, in these studies, they look at  male managers and female managers, and how they react to women who push hard for more money. And both sets of managers reacted negatively when the women were quite aggressive in their ask. And that’s simply because we are not conditioned to see women in that way. Again, women are meant to be softer, and it kind of puts people’s backs up of both sexes when women step outside that stereotype.

So yeah, it is interesting because I think a lot of people just assume that women feel differently about women, but they really don’t.

Mac Prichard:

Well let’s talk about the concrete steps women can take to get more money when they  negotiate. What are some techniques that you’ve seen in your reporting that have worked for women?

Ashley Milne-Tyte:

Well and it’s worked for me as well. I probably couldn’t talk about this if I hadn’t tried it. But I swear by this book called Ask For It, by two researchers…well one is a professor at the Heinz School of Business, and the other is an author in Massachusetts. They’re called Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, and Linda is the author of much of this research on negotiation and men and  women and negotiation. But it’s become my sort of little negotiation bible. It’s a very easy…it’s a paperback, but it really changed my view of how to think around money.

Some other things I learned from interviewing those women and reading the book and doing reporting and trying this, is that women do have to work a little bit harder at…in other words, have to be a little bit more careful in their ask, and that frustrates some women. They say, “Well why…why should I have to do this? Why should I have to be more careful and soften myself up to ask for more money?”

But you do need to do that a little bit, just because of what we just talked about; the fact that the stereotypes around male and female behavior are very prevalent even in 2017, and it’s simply that the person you’re sitting opposite is likely to expect you as a woman to not be as pushy as a guy might be. So it just works better if you peddle it a little bit more softly. So, I mean, I actually watched a brilliant negotiation between two master students at MYU and they were playing it out for me as for my reporting to see how you did it. And the woman got what she wanted largely out of this negotiation, and she wasn’t pushy at all. But she just kept coming back with, you know, the research she had done on salaries, which is very important. You need to do your research so that you know what that position that you’re going for, what it can command, what other people are earning for similar positions, and that’s really important.

And you need to… it needs to be… you’ve got to take the emotion out of it. It needs to be about your work and what you can bring to the company, not what you feel you deserve from an emotional point of view. But I mean, it can be done. I have… just recently, I politely asked for about eighteen percent more for a project that I was working on. And I was quite pleased with what they offered me, but I knew from my work that women leave money on the table all the time. So I thought, “Well a man would not accept this at first. You know, the first offer, so I’m going to try… I’m gonna go for more money.” and I just said, “Thank you so much, I’d love to do this. Would x be possible? Would you be able to go up to x amount?” And it was about eighteen percent more. And I made another ask and I said, “Rather than paying me in two increments, could you pay me over the period of time in four increments?” Because as any freelancer knows, waiting a long time for your money can be one of the major downsides of working for yourself.

So I made two asks and they came back and they didn’t give me exactly what I asked for, but they gave me almost what I asked for. So maybe three percent less? And they said “Yes, we can pay you in four increments.” So I came away feeling really good about that because I got two things. I got more money, and the payment schedule was made easier.

And I think some forget when we talk about negotiation is, you don’t have to get everything you asked for but even if you get a little bit more, that’s more than what they were offering in the first place, and you can ask for these smaller things, like being payed over a period of once a month instead of being paid once every two months. That’s an ask as well.

So there are all these different things you can do and I think as long as you keep it polite, but not apologetic, but just polite, and remind people of what you’ve been earning or what what you’ve brought to the company, if you’re negotiating within your current position, you can pull this off and there’s been quite a bit of writing about the backlash that women get when they negotiate to the extent that some writers are urging women, “Well you know, you just can’t negotiate, because you’re gonna be punished for it.”

And I really hate to see that because it’s not true. You just do it. And you have to be a little bit careful in your ask and your phrasing, and be friendly and smiling, and make sure you’re always taking into account the company’s point of view as well, but not to the extent that you’re rolling over, and not fighting a little bit for yourself.

But it can be done and I… people who never negotiate, I really want to convey that it’s amazing when you think, “I’m never gonna get it, I’m never gonna get it. I’m gonna ask but I’m never gonna get it.” And then you do, and it’s just sort of amazing. It’s a high-five to yourself and you think, “Gosh, I wish I’d done this ten years ago, or fifteen years ago.”

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, so do your homework, don’t take the first offer, recognize you may not get everything you want.

Ashley Milne-Tyte:

Exactly.

Mac Prichard:

But if you don’t ask, you won’t get anything more than what is on the table.

Ashley Milne-Tyte:

Yeah, also something…and you know, if the first thing you ask for doesn’t work out like the money, then do what I did, ask for something else. You know, if they say, “No, sorry, we can’t do that.” Then think about a smaller ask before you go in. Think about something else that you’d like and pitch that instead. You know, I pitched these two things and one of them was just being paid in a timely manner, and they said yes and I’m very glad that I asked for that.

Mac Prichard:

Right. There are a lot of…you mentioned one book about negotiation, and we’ll be sure to include it in the shownotes. There a lot of books out there about negotiating salary, Ashley, but are there techniques that work for men but might not work for women in these conversations?

Ashley Milne-Tyte:

I think yes, so this is all…this is totally anecdotal at this point, but I think it’s easier for men to be aggressive in their ask. I think… I’ve had people interviewees tell me that they’ve had men say, “Well if you don’t give me x I’m just going to…I’m gonna go…I’m gonna go to this other company, I’ve got this other offer.” And the person I interviewed in question, he said, “you know, well I wanted him to stay so I made him this other offer and we kept him.” I think that kind of technique just doesn’t work as well for women because of what we’ve talked about. Because of the attitude toward a woman who behaves like that.

So men do have more leeway to be aggressive, and a bit cheekier in their ask. I’m not saying it’s always going to work for them, it probably won’t necessarily, but they have leeway to be more forthright and straightforward, and that I think is the major difference between the sexes, is the way that women are reacted to when they behave in exactly that same way.

Mac Prichard:

Well great, well it’s been a great conversation, Ashley. Now tell us what is coming up next for you?

Ashley Milne-Tyte:

So for me, I’m always juggling multiple jobs, so I’m working on…I’m working for a client, on a podcast about entrepreneurship, which is really exciting because it’s taking me to your part of the world. It took me to Portland, and LA recently. And you know the best thing about being a journalist is meeting so many interesting people, and getting to see into people’s lives, even if it’s just for a few hours at a time. It’s fascinating.

And then to my podcast; I’m actually really curious about, given the change in administration and how divided America is as a country at the moment, I really want to focus in one of my upcoming shows on more conservative women and their attitudes to women in the workplace. That’s something I’m working on. I’m gathering interviewees for that. I don’t have date for the release for that show yet but that’s one of my upcoming shows.

And another one is gonna be about executive assistants because that, in America, the biggest job done by women is still that of administrative assistant/secretary, even in this…even in, you know, the twenty-first century. The job that used to be a woman’s job in the 1950s is still the job that’s most done by women, so I think that’s fascinating. And given that I think April is Administrative Assistant’s Day sometime in April, so I’m looking to release that show in April.

Mac Prichard:

Well terrific. Well I encourage listeners to check out your podcast, it’s called The Broad Experience. And they can learn more about your show and your work by visiting your website which is http://www.thebroadexperience.com/ and we’ll be sure to include that in the shownotes as well. Ashley, thanks for being on the show today.

Ashley Milne-Tyte:

Thanks for having me.

Mac Prichard:

It’s been a pleasure. Take care.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio with Kristin and Ben. Now tell me your thoughts about my conversation with Ashley. Kristin, you wanna go first?

Kristin Schuchman:

Sure, yeah, that was really fascinating. I had done a lot of reading on women in negotiation. It comes up a lot, particularly in my interview coaching. When that comes up, what do I say? How do I handle that? But it was interesting to hear her be sort of blunt about the fact that, no it’s not equal necessarily, how women are perceived and how men are perceived as different and how we need to answer that question. But it was also a tiny bit disheartening, to hear that we do have to approach it differently, but I think she’s being honest. And so I have to respect that.

What I just…where my mind goes, though, is will that change over time? You know, as more women get positions of leadership. Will women that are in charge expect the negotiation tactics from from the people that they’re in charge of to be different? That was just a fascinating thing,  a trend that I would like to watch, I guess.

Ben Forstag:

Yeah, I mean, I think I’m in the same space as you right now. My concern is that when it’s been internalized by female candidates themselves that “we shouldn’t be asking for more money, or if we do ask we’re gonna come off as difficult employees”. You know, that’s the real challenge right?

It’s really hard to change society at large, or the entire economy, but when you’ve adopted these own false ideas about yourself…kind of breaking free of that is something you have to do yourself.

I liked her point about not making everything about money, and that  there’s other things, other ways that you can find negotiation wins. I know that’s something we’ve talked about in the past. But at the end of the day, most people go to work for a paycheck, or the paycheck is the most visible reminder of why we go to work. And we need to find a way to make that equal across men and women and people of color and white folks and everyone.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah, and to your point about how, it is disheartening to know that the problem is so big.  I think about her point in particular about the importance of getting your salary right, early in your career. It’s kind of like investing in a 401K; you have the power of compound interest on your side. But if you wait until decades later to start saving for a house or retirement, you lose…you miss out on that opportunity. And it’s the same with salary; salary history shouldn’t matter, but it matters a lot. And so if you don’t get it right early in your career, it’s harder to fix it as you move into mid-career and senior positions.

Kristin Schuchman:

Yeah, you could be losing tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. That’s a good point.

Mac Prichard:

Yeah. But the good news is she had great ideas, suggestions about what you can do about it and there’s a lot more research about this topic, and a lot more awareness than there was three, five, and certainly ten years ago.

Kristin Schuchman:

Right.

Mac Prichard:

Right, well terrific. Well thank you both. Thank you, Ashley for joining us and I appreciate you, our listeners for downloading today’s episode of Find Your Dream Job.

If you like what you hear, please sign up for our free weekly newsletter. In every issue, we give you the key points of that week’s show. We also include links to all of the resources mentioned; and you get a transcript of the full episode. If you subscribe to the newsletter now, we’ll send you our Job Seeker Checklist. In one easy to use file, we show you all the steps you need to take to find a great job.

Get your free newsletter and checklist today. Go to https://www.macslist.org/podcast/ .

And join us next Wednesday when our special guest will be Jessica Smith. She’ll explain how to prepare for your next job interview. Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job.

A number of studies show that many women don’t negotiate for salary as often as men during the hiring process.

Cultural conditioning and stereotypes are at the center of this problem. Talking about money can be very uncomfortable for many women, whether it’s due to lack of education about finances or fear that they’ll come off as greedy or “bossy.” Hiring managers, both men or women, may consider women  pushy or rude while the same behavior from men is seen as normal.

However, there are various studies that show women negotiate very well when they are negotiating for someone else. So how can women take those skills and go to bat for their own benefit?

This week’s guest, Ashley Milne-Tyte, says women leave money on table all the time. But by understanding bias, doing homework, and presenting a well-informed ask, women can negotiate for better compensation.

Ashley’s techniques for a successful salary negotiation: 

  • Do your research. Find out what people in similar positions are making, pulling both national and local salary ranges.
  • Be calm and understand expectations. Know going in that you may get different reactions. Be calm, firm, yet friendly in your ask.
  • Don’t accept the first offer. It’s common practice to take a day to consider an offer. Use that time to come up with a reasonable counter-ask.
  • Have options in your ask. Whether you offer flexibility in payment schedule or other compensation instead of cash, be open but don’t roll over.

This Week’s Guest

Ashley Milne-Tyte is a podcast host and radio and print reporter based in New York. She has reported extensively for Marketplace, the public radio business show, as well as local stations and smaller shows. Ashley teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her podcast on women and the workplace, The Broad Experience, has been featured on best podcast lists in The Guardian, Fortune, and Entrepreneur.

Resources from this Episode