Women ask for wage rises almost as often as men, but men are 25% more likely to get a raise when they ask, according to joint research from the Cass Business School, the University of Warwick and the University of Wisconsin.
The authors of the study Do Women Ask? investigated some common beliefs about how women are paid. The survey of 4,600 workers across more than 800 employers found no evidence for the commonly-held idea that women get paid less because they are not as pushy as men.
Three-quarters (75%) of men said they had asked for a pay rise, and two-thirds (66%) of women had asked. When like-for-like men and women were compared the men were 25% more likely to be successful, obtaining a pay increase 20% of the time. Only 16% of women were successful when they asked.
More men (14.6%) than women (12.9%) claimed they had never requested a pay rise for fear of harming workplace relations, countering the common myth that women are more concerned about this than men.
The research is based on data gathered by the Australian Workplace Relations Survey (AWRS), which covers 2013 to 2014 and a representative sample of Australian employees and workplaces. The researchers used Australian data because it is the only country to collect information on whether people have asked for a raise.
The report explained that it is important to scrutinise the idea that women are not asking for pay rises as often as men, as this account of pay differences “assigns at least part of the responsibility for gender differentials to female workers and their actions".
Co-author Andrew Oswald, professor of economics and behavioural science at the University of Warwick, said the results indicate "pure" gender discrimination. “We didn’t know how the numbers would come out,” he said. “Having seen these findings, I think we have to accept that there is some element of pure discrimination against women.”