Do women need to be more aggressive to get ahead?

Written by
Changeboard Team

Published
23 Nov 2016

23 Nov 2016 • by Changeboard Team

A new study has found that the ‘nicer’ or ‘more agreeable’ a woman is at work, the lower her salary is likely to be.

In a report published in The European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, it was found that ‘dominant’, ‘assertive’ women are compensated better than their more accommodating female colleagues. The trend is also seen in male employees, although both groups of men earn more than their female colleagues. 

The study surveyed 375 men and women at a Dutch multinational electronics company with 1,390 employees. All subjects were selected at random from the company’s 12 departments. 

Author of the study, professor Sharon Toker of the Tel Aviv University Coller School of Business Management said: “We have witnessed dramatic changes in the definition of traditionally male and female qualities over the past several decades. But some people still really cling to the idea that some qualities are exclusively male and exclusively female.

"Some professional women are still afraid to exhibit a trait that's incongruent with presumed notions of female character. The result is financial retribution.”
In a surprising trend, nearly all employees felt dissatisfied with their input-compensation ratio, apart from agreeable and non-dominant women, who felt they earned too much.

Toker commented: “This blew our minds, the data shows that they earn the least – far less than what they deserve. They rationalise the situation, making it less like that they will make appropriate demands for equal pay.”