How Often Do Women in Tech Actually Negotiate Their Salaries?

Do women in tech frequently negotiate for salary raises and other perks? According to a new survey by Blind, which anonymously surveys technologists about a range of current issues, some 47 percent of women at big technology companies always feel uncomfortable when they negotiate, while another 20 percent said they don’t negotiate if they view the offer on the table as a fair one.

The percentage of those willing to negotiate varies wildly from company to company. At the majority of companies, though, only a minority of technologists who identify as women said they were unafraid to negotiate for better compensation. Here’s the full chart:

“I didn’t negotiate when I first joined Amazon because the offer was fair and more than I expected,” one Blind user commented. “However, after I joined, my then manager (female) mentioned that I should have negotiated and that males always negotiate to the point that it’s unreasonable. After that, I always negotiate hard. Recently negotiated with Google and managed to up the TC by $100K.”

Or as another anonymous technologist at Microsoft put it: “I always negotiate, and almost all companies have refused to budge and then hired a much less experienced man to work for me for far more money. I have learned my lesson. I negotiate hard and I won’t join any company that won’t negotiate with me.” 

The anonymous Microsoft employee added: “I am so tired of the idea that women don’t negotiate. We do. That’s not the issue—at least in my experience. My female friends and I in tech are smart, motivated, and experienced, and we negotiate every time. We have just faced an uphill battle for decades. Only now are things starting to change.”

Many of tech’s biggest companies remain overwhelmingly male, particularly their engineering and senior leadership teams. For example, some 63 percent of Facebook’s global workforce was male in 2020 (down a bit from 69 percent in 2014), along with 68 percent of Google’s (virtually unchanged from 2014, when it was 69.4 percent). Progress has also been slow, despite these companies’ attempts to diversify their workforces. Given that gender balance, it’s easy to see how some technologists who identify as women could feel intimidated about negotiating for more money. 

Fortunately, many companies are pushing back against gender discrimination and attempting to diversify their respective hiring and management practices. It would be naïve to think that any one set of policies will magically change things overnight, but progress is possible if there’s broad support in an organization for making things more equitable