Do “nice guys finish last?” The answer is “no,” but when
it comes to compensation, nice women and men finish a
Research shows a wider gap (18%) among men as a group when
it comes to which man receives more compensation – the
agreeable or the less-agreeable male.
The salary gap for agreeableness among women was only 5%.
As such, the “mean girl” syndrome is not that much of a
compensable advantage for a woman and in fact may be a
disadvantage in a male dominated profession.
For purposes of the research, agreeableness was defined by
the attributes of helpful, friendly, warm, caring, and
The researchers attributed their findings among men and
women to the effects of masculine stereotypes in the
workplace, which place a higher perceived value on risk
taking, assertiveness, self-promotion, competitiveness,
But in many organizations, the problem is less about
stereotypes and more about the lack of a systematic
process for determining compensation. In the absence of
good compensation structures, the result is that business
owners and executives are likely to be fooled by external
Additionally to a certain degree, there exists a gender
pay gap between men and women. An expert on salary
coaching for women, Olivia Jaras, www.salarycoaching.com ,
notes that many times this gap is less about gender and
more a function of women (1) not sufficiently prepared
with data for a salary discussion and (2) not knowing how
to properly present themselves (i.e., women need to
present as women, not as men).
Olivia’s position is that women have the ability to use
the soft-skills of helpful, friendly, warm, and caring to
achieve compensation excellence without appearing to
exhibit those stereotypical male traits that often result
in women being called some not very nice names.
Olivia’s advice for women is applicable to men as well.
The fact is that any well-prepared individual, overly
agreeable or not, does not have to be at a disadvantage in
a compensation discussion.
Finally when confronted with a well-prepared individual,
an organization will be at a significant disadvantage if
it does not have a competitively structured approach to