Women Do Ask for Raises

Men are 25 percent more likely than women to get raises when they ask for them.

WOMEN REQUEST WAGE increases just as often as men do, but men are 25 percent more likely to get raises when they ask for them, according to Benjamin Artz of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, Amanda H. Goodall of Cass Business School at City University London, and Andrew J. Oswald of the University of Warwick in the U.K.

The three scholars based their conclusions on a random sample of 4,600 workers across more than 800 employers, using research gathered in the Australian Workplace Relations Survey (AWRS) during 2013–2014. They found no support for the theories that women get paid less because they are not as assertive as men or hesitate to ask for raises because they’re afraid of upsetting their bosses.

According to the researchers, men obtained a pay increase 20 percent of the time, while women were successful only 16 percent of the time. “Having seen these findings, I think we have to accept that there is some element of pure discrimination against women,” notes Oswald.

The researchers used data from the Australian survey because it asks individuals whether their pay is set by negotiation with the company, whether they have successfully obtained a wage increase since joining their employers, and whether they preferred not to attempt to negotiate a pay raise because they were concerned about their relationships.

The survey did yield one positive finding: Younger Australian women are getting raises as often as their male counterparts. Notes Goodall, “Young women today are negotiating their pay and conditions more successfully than older females, and perhaps that will continue as they become more senior.”

“Do Women Ask?” is available at www.amandagoodall.com/DowomenaskIZA.pdf.