When it comes to hammering out the best deal for themselves, women differ from men in three key ways, says Leigh Thompson, J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolutions and Organizations: they set less aggressive goals; they make less assertive opening offers; and they don't choose to negotiate in situations where men do. The result? Among graduates of elite business schools, women are paid 93 cents for every dollar paid to men. And the gap is widening.
There are several reasons why women don't represent themselves as aggressively when bargaining, Thompson explains. Chief among them is the fear that they'll come off as too demanding and will be seen as "not very nice."
Yet the situation isn't hopeless. With the right research and preparation beforehand and the use of a few key tactics during the discussion, women can improve their situation dramatically.