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Breaking the silence: Women feel uncomfortable negotiating worth

100 years ago today, (some) UK women won the right to vote. In 1918, the organised and relentless women’s suffrage movement finally received, in part, success, as women over 30 (who were occupiers of property or married to occupiers) were entitled to vote in Britain.

And one century later, whilst women have transcended many societal norms, rightly earning their place in the workplace, discrepancies still remain; in leadership, pay and equality.

Whilst recruiters are aware of hiring without bias, the conversations they’re having with their candidates could be contributing to the gender pay gap – which currently stands at 9.1%.

For example, new research has found that one fifth of women believe that discussing salaries is inappropriate.

The WorkHappy Index, created by Jobbio, found that men are much more open to discuss their earnings, with 55% happy to have the conversation.

In contrast, less than a fifth (18%) of women believe that within the next five years their salary will increase, in comparison to nearly a quarter (24%) of men.

However, both genders are in agreement that companies should be offering competitive salaries, with nearly two thirds of men (60%) and over half of women (53%) believing it is an important factor when it comes down to job happiness.

Whilst recruiters are often pressured to get the best deal for their clients, it’s important that male and female candidates, with equal ability to do the role, are paid equally - diversity should not mean discount.

Another issue potentially contributing to this lack of conversation around female salaries, is that female interviewees face more difficult interviews than their male counterparts during the recruitment process.

According to a study, conducted by the University of California and University of Southern California, male interviewers were twice as likely to interrupt a female interviewee than a male interviewee.

The consequence, the study concludes, is that women spend more time working through queries which undermines their presence, giving the perception that they are weaker candidates.

The researchers said: “Even shortlisted women with impressive CVs may still be assumed to be less competent, are challenged, sometimes excessively, and therefore have less time to present a coherent and compelling talk."

Therefore, it’s important that the industry actively tries to eradicate their unconscious biases. The workplace is still an uphill battle for many females, but, challenging outdated attitudes can and should incite change.