Shut up and work

Bloomberg Equality

I recently coached a friend on a salary negotiation that ended with a pretty sad text message: "I feel like this is a bit of a betrayal, but I just didn't ask for more money in the end," she said. I wrote back: "I understand."

The gender pay gap hasn't budged, despite promises from companies to address workplace inequalities, but what if fixing the negotiation process were one way to start closing it? 

That was the case at tech recruiting firm, which made one tweak to its website that nearly eliminated wage inequality among a group of men and women, according to a new working paper out of the University of California at Berkeley. works a little differently than other career websites. It asks users to create a profile with information about what they're looking for in their next role, including how much they want to get paid. Companies then bid on candidates.

In mid-2018, the box used to solicit desired pay went from an empty field to pre-loaded with the median salary for a candidate's desired role. This sent a subtle message: "Hey, this is how much others with your skills, experience, and location are making, so you probably shouldn't ask for less than that."

Before the change, women solicited an average of $4,032 less than men with comparable resumes. After, the discrepancy disappeared, mostly because women raised their asks, though some men lowered theirs, too. The study of more than 120,000 candidates and 6,700 companies controlled for location, resume characteristics and experience. 

Because women don't have access to the same peer networks as men, it  can be harder for them to know how much money to ask for, says Nina Roussille, a PhD candidate in economics at U.C. Berkeley, who authored the paper. "This is a combination of women not having the precise information they need to ask for the right amount and also a nudge to ask for what they are worth," she said.

The most instructive takeaway for me was that companies didn't penalize women for asserting their worth; they rewarded them for it. 

It's also nice to know that salary negotiations don't have to involve under the table text messages. It turns out arming people with unbiased, formulaic data takes away a lot of the icky feelings we have around asking for the pay we deserve. —Shelly Banjo

Did you see this? 

Protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin after the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a White police officer have sparked a nationwide professional sports strike. Players took a stand after multiple protestors were shot dead during clashes with armed, far-right self-described "militia" members. Authorities on Wednesday arrested a 17-year-old suspected in the killings

The U.S. Post Office, under scrutiny as the country prepares for an election that will partly happen by mail, happens to have an all male and mostly White board of directors.

Black venture capitalists in Silicon Valley wonder if they've done enough to combat the industry's quiet racism

A school in Paris got a lesson in its own gender biases

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For those who can afford it, the must-have feature during Covid: Outdoor space

Shut up and work

As Covid-19 has swept the U.S., employers have been on a silencing spree. Hundreds of businesses have told their workers not to talk about the virus, especially if they or someone they've been in contact with have it, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. In one case, Irma Cruz says when she asked her supervisor at McDonald's Corp. to inform her co-workers of her positive Covid test, the supervisor told her not to worry. When she decided to tell people on her own, the supervisor berated her for disclosing her diagnosis. "To stop this pandemic, workers need to be listened to rather than silenced," David Michaels, an epidemiologist, said. 



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