Women are often told that to close the gender pay gap, they need to negotiate their salaries just as men do. But not only does that advice put the onus on women to solve the problem, it perpetuate stereotypes that may not be true, says Berkeley Haas Prof. Laura Kray, an expert on gender and negotiations.
“We know that people who negotiate get more than those who don’t, but that’s not a ‘women’s issue’—two-thirds of men don’t negotiate,” said Kray, the Warren E. and Carol Spieker Chair in Leadership. “Women are asking, but they’re not always getting what they ask for, and they’re more likely to be told things that aren’t true.”
Kray, along with postdoctoral researcher Margaret Lee, is looking more deeply at the structural and systemic issues that keep women's salaries low, along with the psychological motivations that perpetuate the current system. A new blind spot they've uncovered is team size.
In new research, Kray and Lee are examining how deep-seated biases about leadership may lead to men being put in charge of larger teams than equally qualified women, and get paid more because of it.
“For women who are aiming to maximize their earnings, it's important to make sure they have the headcount to justify what they’re asking for,” she said. “My advice for these aspiring women is: Don’t overlook team size as a factor that could make a difference in your paycheck, especially in the long run.”
Laura Kray Professor | The Ned and Carol Spieker Chair in Leadership | Faculty Director, Center for Equity, Gender, and Leadership
Leading expert on gender in the workplace