BBC News Article: Why XX must think like XY to earn more K

Rikki Endsley

ROSE Blog: Rikki's Open Source Exchange

May 15, 2009 GMT
Rikki Kite

Marilyn Davidson, a professor of work psychology at Manchester Business School, wrote an excellent article about salary differences between men and women: Why XX must think like XY to earn more K

Before reading the article, you can take a little quiz to see whether your answers show more of a male or female tendency. Marilyn's article reinforces salary negotiation and assertiveness suggestions from my recent Her PR Problem article.

Based on students responses to her questions about what they expect to earn vs. what they deserve to earn, Marilyn writes, "On average the men think they deserve £10,000 more a year than the women – that's 25% more than the women think they're worth – a staggering figure."

Again we see the issue of assertiveness vs. aggressiveness. "Partly women fear being too aggressive and feisty – which can be viewed as negative in the workplace – but I think it's more complex," Marilyn writes. "It is part of our conditioning that men equate money with status and power but women see job satisfaction as more of an issue."

Okay, considering our current economy, maybe right now isn't the best time to go negotiate for a pay raise. It is the perfect time to start positioning yourself to make more money, however. Ask yourself: What skills are you bringing to your current position? How can you make yourself even more of an asset and indispensable? What do online salary surveys say about your current position, in your region of the country, with your level of experience? What additional skills and experience could you start adding to your resume?

After you've done a little more salary-negotiation homework and preparation, answer the question, "Now what do you think you deserve to earn?"


  • need vs. want

    I wonder how common it is for people to be in a situation where they are able to say they don't need and/or want to earn more money. For example, as a single mother, I never earned anything near what would have been comfortable each month. We weren't eating cat food, but I did have my utilities turned off more than once (ok, many, many times, actually). And even now with two incomes, we still can't buy clothing fast enough for our daughter (who eats like a locust, by the way, so I can't keep enough groceries in the house for that rapidly growing girl, either). Pre-teens are expensive, I tell ya!

    Or maybe some of us are just bigger consumers, but I imagine there are plenty of folks working in IT who never think they earn enough to keep up with the newest Kindles, netbooks, iPhones, doo-dads, or favorite print magazine subscriptions. blunk

    On the other hand, I'd love to reach a point where I can say, "That's ok, I don't need to earn that much. What would I do with all that extra money?"
  • Need v. Want v. Deserve

    I also wonder if "well the average pay for this work is $50K, but given my living situation, $35K would be more than I need" is something others think of. That's something I said to a friend once when he told me the average pay in a job I was being scouted for. He said "but you deserve the full $50K" and I just wondered "what would I do with that?"

    When I was asked to think about how much I wanted for my current job, I asked DevChix what the usual rate was. "Figure out how much you need to make, and go from there" was a common response. I wonder if that leads us to go for lower pay since we don't really *need* much more. I took the original offer the company gave me; it was the same amount I was going to request.
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