Why on average do men get paid more than women?

There are, of course, a broad range of explanations for the persistent and changing income differentiations between men and women.

I don't pretend to know all the theories behind the difference and wouldn't spend my time listing them if I knew them.

However, new research suggests some part of the persistent gap in salaries is that men, simply, tend to push for a better deal.

In terms of pushing for a better deal with starting salaries at the beginning of a career, this it is argued, can lead to significantly higher life-time earnings.

An example is given below:

"Although differences in starting salaries are usually modest, small differences can have big effects down the road.

If a 22-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman are offered $25,000 for their first job, for example, and one of them negotiates the amount up to $30,000, then over the next 28 years, the negotiator would make $361,171 more, assuming they both got 3% pay rises each year.

And this is without taking into account the fact that the negotiators don't just get better starting pay; they also win bigger pay rises over the course of their careers."

However, there is on more twist to the research findings and is outlined below:

"Men tended to rule against women who negotiated but were less likely to penalise men; women tended to penalise both men and women who negotiated, and preferred applicants who did not ask for more."

The applicants, in other words, were accurately reading how males and females were likely to perceive them."

So, for women at the beginning of a career (or fairly early on), it seems that doing some homework on who would determine your pay in an organization and learning to negotiate with men should be a priority.

See The truth about why women are paid less - even if they ask for more (Shankar Vedantam, The Guardian) for more details.

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