It’s a common trope that women in the workplace don’t advance as quickly or make as much as their male counterparts because they simply don’t ask for raises and promotions. But according to new research published today in the Washington Post, this is a myth — women do ask, they just don’t get as much in return:
The research focused on career paths of high-potential men and women, drawing on thousands of MBA graduates from top schools around the world. Catalyst found that, among those who had moved on from their first post-MBA job, there was no significant difference in the proportion of women and men who asked for increased compensation or a higher position.
Yet the rewards were different.
Women who initiated such conversations and changed jobs post MBA experienced slower compensation growth than the women who stayed put. For men, on the other hand, it paid off to change jobs and negotiate for higher salaries—they earned more than men who stayed did. And we saw that as both men’s and women’s careers progress, the gender gap in level and pay gets even wider.
Catalyst’s research debunks the myth that women themselves are to blame for the gender gap in the workplace. As the Catalyst authors put it, “If women are asking, but are still not advancing as quickly, maybe we need to frame things differently.”
Nationally, American women still earn only 81 cents to the male dollar. The median income for women is lower than men in all 50 states.