Salary Negotiation: Are Women Making the Most of It?

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This spring, the Tippie chapter of MBA Women International hosted Tippie women and guests at a Salary Negotiation Roundtable to learn some practical strategies, ask questions, and share experiences in salary negotiations. Professors Amy L. Kristof-Brown and Terry L. Boles led the discussion and presented insights into why women negotiate less often than men and how to overcome the tendency to accept the first offer.

Failure to negotiate our first salary has lifelong earnings implications. By some estimates, even a small initial concession could cost women more than half a million dollars.1  The stakes are much higher as we move further into our careers, yet only 7% of female MBA graduates attempt to negotiate salaries, compared to 57% of males.2

Why is this? Women are often less certain of their value in the market, and we aren’t aiming high enough. A salary offer just above our bottom line is accepted as success while our male counterparts are reaching toward their aspirations. In addition, women often just don’t feel like it’s worth it, want to avoid conflict, and fear the impact on relationships.1

What can we do about it? Prepare! And learn a few strategies to make stepping into negotiations easier.


  • Research salary ranges  – Know what the market looks like.
  • Explore your BATNA  – What will you do if an agreement can’t be reached?
  • Set Goals and Aim High! – Okay, now aim higher.
  • Practice – Say it out loud. The more you say it, the easier it gets.
  • Maintain interest in mutually beneficial solutions – Go for a win-win position!

If you have an offer, your prospective employer wants you to join them. Know your value and aspire to reach it. Your retirement account will thank you.



1. Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever, 2003. Women Don’t Ask, Princeton Univ. Press


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