Harvard Business School, Working Paper No. 08-095
Make no mistake: Gender bias plays an important role at the negotiating table for female job candidates. Studies have shown that women are expected to be more agreeable than men, can appear too aggressive if they push hard at the beginning of the hiring process, and may face future career limitations if work arrangements do not provide flexibility for managing family commitments. Women often need to perform two sets of negotiations — one at work and one at home with a domestic partner — to achieve needed balance. Fortunately, many employers today are willing to offer flexible arrangements in order to attract and maintain top female talent. The authors of this paper provide insight on how best to negotiate an appropriate work–life balance without sacrificing equal pay. They suggest negotiating for flexible work scenarios during the hiring process, conducting research on the appropriate pay range for the position rather than asking peers for salary advice, and focusing on firms that enable employees to customize their work schedule to manage family commitments.
Before entering into job negotiations, women should determine how much they expect to earn and what type of work situation would be most advantageous for themselves, their employers, and their family commitments.