NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Lack of Negotiation Skills Puts Women at a Disadvantage

November 17, 2003

When asked to pick metaphors for the process of salary negotiation, men picked "winning a ballgame" and a "wrestling match," while women picked "going to the dentist."

The importance of salary negotiating is often glazed over after the excitement of accepting a job offer. But a woman has the power at age 22 to make a decision that can affect her entire career and it all comes down to bargaining over her starting salary.

  • Men are eight times as likely as women to bargain over starting pay.
  • A 22-year-old woman who fails to get her first job offer of $25,000 boosted by $5,000 stands to lose more than $568,000 by age 60, says Linda Babcock, a Carnegie Mellon University economics professor.

Negotiating proves to new colleagues that you have the skills to negotiate and the confidence to stand up for yourself, often desired in a corporate representative.

To help women learn the skills they need for effective negotiating, online courses and executive-education programs are becoming more popular, teaching women to be more successful self-advocates through role-playing, discussing case histories, and videotaping simulations of their own pending negotiations.

Source: Joann Lublin, "Women Fall Behind When They Don't Hone Their Negotiation Skills," Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2003.

For WSJ text,,SB106789941877812100-search,00.html


Browse more articles on Economic Issues