Promotions – Time to Start Asking For It

Wondering why you didn’t receive that promotion you’ve been working so hard for, or that raise you so richly deserve? The answer might be as simple as…you didn’t ask for it
That’s the assertion made by two must-read books by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, Women Don’t Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation – and Positive Strategies for Change (2007) and its follow-up, Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want (2009). (Despite their titles, both books can be equally useful to men who feel their negotiating skills could use some strengthening.)
According to the authors:
  • In surveys, 2.5 times more women than men said they feel “a great deal of apprehension” about negotiating.
  • Men initiate negotiations about four times as often as women.
  • When asked to pick metaphors for the process of negotiating, men picked “winning a ballgame” and a “wrestling match,” while women picked “going to the dentist.”
  • Women will pay as much as $1,353 to avoid negotiating the price of a car, which may help explain why 63 percent of Saturn car buyers are women.
  • Women are more pessimistic about the how much is available when they do negotiate and so they typically ask for and get less when they do negotiate—on average, 30 percent less than men.
  • 20 percent of adult women (22 million people) say they never negotiate at all, even though they often recognize negotiation as appropriate and even necessary.
  • By not negotiating a first salary, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by age 60—and men are more than four times as likely as women to negotiate a first salary.
  • In one study, eight times as many men as women graduating with master’s degrees from Carnegie Mellon negotiated their salaries. The men who negotiated were able to increase their starting salaries by an average of 7.4 percent, or about $4,000. In the same study, men’s starting salaries were about $4,000 higher than the women’s on average, suggesting that the gender gap between men and women might have been closed if more of the women had negotiated their starting salaries.
  • Women who consistently negotiate their salary increases earn at least $1 million more during their careers than women who don’t.
In addition, the studies undertaken or reported by Babcock and Laschever indicate that age makes no difference when it comes to women’s avoidance of any and all negotiating situations – younger women struggle just as much as their older peers.
Whereas Women Don’t Ask lays out the reasons that women tend to avoid negotiating in their own best interests, Ask For It focus on how to improve your negotiating chops. Organized into four sections (Everything is Negotiable, Lay the Groundwork, Get Ready, and Put It All Together), this practical handbook lays out what you need to know, how to gather that information, and how to use it in a negotiation. (No surprise, one of their key admonitions is “Practice, Practice, Practice!”) Invaluable career advice for anyone who’s ever felt awkward, embarrassed, or incompetent in a job-negotiation situation.
Women Don’t Ask: The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation – and Positive Strategies for Change. Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, Bantam, 2007. 272p. ISBN 0553383876.
Ask for It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want. Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, Bantam, 2009. 336p. ISBN 0553384554.
For more career resources, check out our Career Services section. Getting a promotion is easier if you have the right education. Bryant & Stratton College offers professional skill development courses that can help you snag that raise or promotion.

336p. ISBN 0553384554.