Why it is assumed that young women college graduates don’t negotiate?

By | March 3, 2015

In every walk of life negotiation and compromise are needed. Every day, decisions have ramifications on others which cannot simply be ignored. The art of negotiating is a skill which can be taught and should be learnt when we are young. To avoid negotiation may well limit your potential or might just mean you don’t get that pay rise. Despite the modern age of equality, it would appear that many women do not negotiate.  Instead, they avoid the issue, possibly losing out in the process. This raises the question of why is it that young female graduates avoid negotiation.

Women’s fear of negotiations

business womanResearch suggests that 57% of male college graduates will negotiate as opposed to only 7% of female graduates. The reasons behind this stem from the traditional image of a woman; they are expected to be quiet and not aggressive. Generally, this leads to a lack of confidence and quite possibly a less than favourable response in any negotiation.

There’s no reason why young ladies should not negotiate. However, they should be a little cautious. Society expects a male to negotiate; it is likely that if they take the same approach as a young man they will be deemed too aggressive. In the work environment this may mean not being liked by your colleagues and potentially damaging future possibilities. Young women wishing to negotiate should follow some basic principles:


It is worth talking to both male and female peers when considering a job offer. A young woman should evaluate her worth to a company in comparison to their male counterpart. Negotiations with the company can then be undertaken without over valuing or undervaluing themselves. Have high expectations and you have the greatest chances of success – don’t let men to bring down your spirit. At the end of the day, everything comes down to experience not looks or gender.


Positive Thinking

A common trait of young people – women in particular – is that it is not worth asking for a raise as you will not get one.  Women should expect more and think positively. This will aid them in requesting and negotiating a raise, or winning a business deal. If done professionally and the answer is still no, it will not have damaged your career. On the contrary, women should appreciate rejection. Rejection should teach them a lesson and not impact their morale.

Imitating Men

Men tend to take an aggressive, competitive approach to negotiation. It has been shown to be unsuccessful when women try this. Instead, a collaborative approach should be taken. It should be shown how a raise would affect your department or even the company as a whole. A young female needs to be friendly, firm but above all polite. Recent female graduates dread negotiations because they assume that a whole process is too intimidating. It can be, there’s no doubt about that. But if you adopt a decisive attitude and you stay focus on the facts, you’ll be the one to appear intimidating not your opponent.

Practice makes perfect, in any situation

As with anything in life, the more times something is done the better you become at it.  Negotiation will cease to be a scary challenge and outside your comfort zone. As a female graduate, you are advised to get assistance from a college or university graduate service, negotiation training session or seminar to help you hone your skill. Local workshops may also be a good idea; these are especially beneficial as it is possible to practice in a friendly environment.

female Negotiation

Equally as good is negotiating with friends, particularly if they are in the same business. It may be useful to draw up a scenario and both parties attempt to be the more successful negotiator.  Again, this is a friendly relaxed atmosphere to practice in.

Young women and women in general often fear negotiations because unlike men, they’re a lot more sensitive and caring. Rather than let emotions can in the way of your judgement, use it to your benefit. Relate to opponents on a more humane level; engage in a conversation with them, and make the meeting feel less stressed and more cooperative. It will take time for attitudes to change and true equality to exist. In the meantime, women should always have the facts and be confident that they have just as much right to negotiate as their male counterparts.

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