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Friday, February 11, 2005

Not entitled to anything more than average

The pay gap is a tell-tale reason as to why women are not successful more often when it comes to penning family-friendly work arrangements.

One of the main reasons there continues to be a big pay gap between men and women is because men negotiate harder. During the interview process, men are more inclined to view offers as a starting point and negotiate hard to get higher pay, more stock options, a signing bonus, and more. Women are more inclined to ask for lower salaries initially and then accept offers at face value, or don't push for more.

Also, women often don't seem to see themselves as entitled as men. This human resources guide cites a study of MBA students entering the job market. It found that 71 percent of men said they believed they were entitled to *more* money than other job prospects. Seventy percent of women surveyed said they were entitled to a salary *equal* to other job candidates.

If women don't see that they should be entitled to privileges that others don't have or few people have, then they are probably more like to be deterred from pushing for a successful part-time arrangement. If no one has ever had flex-time, telecommuting privileges, or part-time jobs in their office, then it might be hard to imagine how they can break that mold and successfully negotiate part-time work.

The Boston Globe ran an article on Feb. 6, called "Knowing how to sell yourself is key to success," and I've been wondering if this could be telling as to why more women aren't successful in getting their employers to sign on for the whole part-time-work-after-baby scenario. Are we letting employers lay out their game plan and just accept it for what it is? Are we too willing to walk away when the boss isn't as receptive as we had hoped for? According to the Globe article:

People pitch for promotions, jobs, or salary hikes. But whether your pitch will land that job depends on how persuasive it is. So, knowing how to sell yourself is key to getting what you want...The single most important step you can take to get the compensation you deserve is to convince yourself of the value of your offering, which will empower you emotionally to negotiate from a position of strength and make that value clear and visible to the other party.

Perhaps women aren't as likely to pat themselves on the back and shine a light on the accomplishments they've made. But when it comes time to negotiate a baby-friendly work deal, shine away! This is no time to be shy. Keep in mind that "realistically, your supervisor is more concerned about the company's operations than your personal needs," according to Dr. Sears's 10 Tips to Working While Pregnant. So be ready to answer all the questions your boss is likely to have about how your old, full-time job will get accomplished in your new, part-time hours.

Women do deserve *more.* Now if we could only convince ourselves of that first.

Any success stories out there? Would love to hear how hard it was to get what you want and deserve!

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