Women ask for pay rises as often as men but have less success

New research dispels the theory that women get paid less than men because they are not sufficiently pushy in the workplace.

The study Do Women Ask? found that women ask for pay increases just as often as men, but are less likely to get them.

A randomly chosen sample of 4,600 employees at more than 800 companies in Australia showed that men are 25% more likely to get a raise when they ask.

The researchers also said there was no evidence for the idea that women were reluctant to ask for a wage increase because they were more wary of upsetting their boss or deviating from a perceived female stereotype.

Australian data was used for the study because it is the only country that collects information on whether employees have asked for a pay rise. The study adjusted for the number of hours worked (because part-time workers tend to feel more hesitant about asking). The analysis also took into account the nature of the employer, the industry, and the characteristics and qualifications of workers.

The figures revealed that men were a quarter more likely to be successful, obtaining a pay increase 20% of the time, while only 16% of female workers were successful when they asked. This points to a structural bias against women.

Co-author Andrew Oswald, Professor of Economics and Behavioural Science at the University of Warwick, said: ?We didn?t know how the numbers would come out. Having seen these findings, I think we have to accept that there is some element of pure discrimination against women.?

Co-author Dr Amanda Goodall at Cass Business School added: ?Ours is the first proper test of the reticent-female theory, and the evidence doesn?t stand up.?

There was one encouraging sign in the data, however: the authors found that young female employees get pay rises just as often as young men.

Dr Goodall commented: ?This study potentially has an upside. Young women today are negotiating their pay and conditions more successfully than older females, and perhaps that will continue as they become more senior.?