Latest Idea From Social Justice Warriors: Ban Salary Negotiation

Such is the idea from Laura J. Kray, who stops short of saying that these bans should be enforcement by government. It’s just implied

The best way to way to eliminate the gender pay gap? Ban salary negotiations.

Ellen Pao, interim chief executive of Reddit, announced last month a ban on salary negotiations at the social media company. Her stated goal: to eliminate the persistent disadvantage that women have at the bargaining table.

Her pronouncement came just days after Pao lost a high-profile sex discrimination lawsuit against one of Silicon Valley’s biggest venture capital firms. Since then, she has insisted that companies “can’t just hide” from sexism in their workplaces, and must be proactive in counteracting discrimination. Still, while it is true that women earn about 78 cents, on average, for every dollar a man makes for comparable work, Pao’s no-negotiating policy has struck many as absurd.

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Why take away an important tool for women to achieve equal pay? Why stop a woman with star qualifications from pushing for as much money as she can get?

Yeah, why? Oh, right. “Social justice”.

In a perfect world, I would agree. Many people in the equal-pay debate argue that inferior negotiating skills are at the root of the gender pay gap. Teaching women to be better negotiators – or getting them to negotiate at all – would fix the issue. But the causes of this problem are more complicated than that. We have two decades of rigorous empirical research on how gender affects contract negotiations and it all points in the same direction. Put simply: As we practice it in the United States, negotiation is a man’s game with men’s rules.

This is followed by all sorts of excuses and Blamestorming and such, in an attempt to softly paint women as hothouse flowers in need of rescue by some sort of Big Entity, because they are always disadvantaged. Sadly, many of the real reasons that women end up on the lower end of the pay raise carrot are never mentioned. Things like men tending to work longer hours, taking less sick and personal days (these days are often taken to take care of the children), time off for maternity, they’re less likely to work weekends, and many other reasons. There is often a time at work disparity.

What’s that? Train women to be better negotiators? Oh, brother, no no no, that’s part of the excusifying. It’s not like anyone could just google “salary negotiation strategies”.

Of course, banning salary negotiation (who is doing the banning?) has its own issues

Such policies do come with some risk. A ban on negotiations leaves a lot of power in the hands of employers, who may not be making equal salary offers to men and women in the first place. The solution is transparency. In an effort to encourage equity and trust, a growing number of companies reveal the salaries of all their employees, sometimes even posting them online. This makes it much harder to hood-wink job candidates and helps eliminate gender discrepancies.

Is Ms. Kray saying that women are too naive to figure it out? Seems rather callous.

Certainly, it would be best if women were judged and treated just as men are when sitting at the negotiating table. But society’s gender biases and discriminating behavior haven’t been overcome in a generation. Pao’s solution of banning salary negotiations is not ideal, but it has the virtue of being grounded in the reality of the world as it is, not as we’d like it to be.

On one hand, feminists/liberals tell us women are super strong, and in the next breath tell us they need all sorts of super protections (by whom, we are not told in this opinion piece). Which is it? Like anything, negotiating salary is a skill, one that can be learned. Fewer and fewer companies disallow negotiation at most levels: there is one set pay scale. This is all progressivism at its best: punishing those who succeed, rather than elevating those who aren’t by teaching.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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