Talking about pay was a daunting task for many job seekers and employees long before the global pandemic flipped the job market upside down. With nearly 9.5 million Americans still unemployed, asking for more money can feel like an even harder subject to bring up. But as we approach 2021 Equal Pay Day, highlighting the gap between what men and women are paid in the U.S., it’s important to ensure women do not short-change themselves by not seeking the full pay raises they should be asking for and receiving. So we took a look at how employed men and women said their pay changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether they plan to ask for more money in the coming months.
A new survey from Glassdoor, the worldwide leader on insights about jobs and companies, conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 1,400 employed U.S. adults revealed employed women are 19% less likely to ask for more money in the coming months than men. The survey found 48% of employed women and 59% of employed men plan to ask for a pay raise, bonus and/or cost-of-living increase in the next 12 months. Overall, more than half of U.S. employees (54%) plan to ask for a pay raise, bonus and/or cost-of-living increase in the next 12 months.
“Before the pandemic, Glassdoor research showed signs that the gender pay gap was shrinking. It was promising news after a decade of increasing momentum to break down taboos around negotiating pay that cause employees, and women in particular, to leave money on the table,” said Glassdoor Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain. “A year into the pandemic, we’re only beginning to understand the full implications of the last year on the workplace and pay. What is clear is that the work to ensure women are equally seeking out opportunities to advance and increase their pay at the same rate as their male counterparts is not only important for womens’ individual careers, but to ensure we don’t lose ground on closing the pay gap.”
Discussing Pay is Key (Even During COVID-19)
Glassdoor experts say it’s important to engage in pay conversations today, whether in your current role or with a prospective employer, while keeping in mind the ongoing global pandemic.
“Don’t shy away from discussing your pay during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you avoid talking about pay and miss out on opportunities to expand your earning potential now, it can be more difficult to catch up when the economy starts to improve,” said Alison Sullivan, career expert at Glassdoor. “It is wise to be sensitive to how your current or a potential employer has weathered the pandemic when determining how and when to discuss your pay. The best way to approach any pay conversation is to be prepared with research, set realistic expectations and be clear about your needs.”
There are countless resources available for job seekers and employees when it comes to preparing for important pay conversations. Before having your next pay conversation, make sure you’re prepared:
- Build your case: Research is essential to an effective pay conversation. Tools like Glassdoor’s Salary Estimates and Know Your Worth personalized salary calculator paired with data on the impact you’ve brought to your role will help you identify the right pay range for your needs and build a case when talking with an employer.
- Practice: Remember that negotiating or asking for a pay raise is a discussion. Practice with friends and family to build confidence and practice what you want to say and how you’ll respond. Use a guide or salary script as helpful prompts you can lean on in your conversation.
- Find your window of opportunity: Knowing when to ask is just as important as the discussion itself. Negotiating during a job offer is a common starting point. After a successful project or before an annual performance review are also opportune times to initiate a salary conversation.
Pay Perceptions During Covid-19 Survey Highlights
The new survey also found that among U.S. employees:
Most employees avoided asking for a pay raise, and women are more likely than men to have not done so:
- About two thirds of U.S. employees (65%) say they did not ask for a pay raise during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Nearly 3 in 4 employed women (73%) didn’t ask for a pay raise during the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to 58% of employed men.
- 1 in 4 U.S. employees (25%) saw their pay decrease during the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. employees are less likely to say they accepted their salary for their most recent position without negotiating than they were two years ago; however, fewer successfully negotiated their salary.
- Nearly 1 in 3 (31%) employees accepted their salary without negotiating in their current or most recent job, which is down from 2 in 5 (40%) in March 2019.
- A slightly larger proportion of employed women (33%) say they accepted their salary for their most recent position without negotiating than employed men (29%). This is similar to March 2019, when 42% of employed women and 39% of employed men said they accepted a salary and did not negotiate in their current or most recent job.
- 13% of employees – 14% of men and 12% of women – negotiated their salary and got more money in their current or most recent job.
- That’s down from March 2019, when 17% of employees – 18% of men and 16% of women – reported negotiating their salary and getting more money in their current or most recent job.
New job, more money?
- Nearly half of U.S. employees (49%) believe a new job is the only way for them to get a pay raise in the next 12 months.
- Employed men and women are equally as likely to believe a new job is the only way for them to get a pay raise in the next 12 months (49% and 48%, respectively).
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from March 9-11, 2021 among 1,497 employed (full time or part-time) U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. The report also references a March 2019 survey to compare sentiment over time. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact email@example.com.
To see complete survey insights by total and gender, please see the tables below.
Complete Survey Data
Overall, how has your pay been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic (from March 2020 to now)?
Total Men Women My pay has remained the same 58% 53% 66% I received a pay decrease (i.e., lowered wage/salary) 25% 28% 21% I received a pay increase (i.e., a raise or bonus) 17% 19% 13%
Which of the following have you done during the COVID-19 pandemic (from March 2020 to now)?
Total Men Women Asked For A Pay Raise (NET) 35% 42% 27% I have asked for a pay raise, and received it 21% 27% 13% I have asked for a pay raise, but did not receive it 17% 18% 15% I have negotiated my pay in a job offer 13% 14% 11% None of these 55% 48% 64% Did Not Ask For A Pay Raise (NET) 65% 58% 73%
Do you plan to ask for a pay raise, bonus and/or cost-of-living increase in the next 12 months?
Total Men Women Yes 54% 59% 48% No 46% 41% 52%
Which of the following, if any, did you do after receiving your salary offer from your current or most recent job?
Total Men Women I accepted the salary and did not negotiate. 31% 29% 33% I negotiated my salary and got more money. 13% 14% 12% I negotiated for more benefits, perks, equity or other forms ofcompensation instead of base salary and got additional other forms ofcompensation 10% 13% 6% I tried to negotiate my salary, but did not get more money 9% 8% 8% I negotiated for more benefits, perks, equity or other forms ofcompensation instead of base salary and did not get additional other forms ofcompensation. 7% 8% 7% I rejected the job offer altogether. 2% 3% 1% None of these 26% 23% 30% Don’t know/Not sure 3% 3% 4%
How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement: A new job is the only way for me to get a pay raise in the next 12 months.
Total Men Women Strongly/Somewhat Agree 49% 49% 48% Strongly/Somewhat Disagree 51% 51% 52%