Bradley Cooper And His Salary- Especially For Women
Had Cooper began this practice of negotiating when the cast of American Hustle was negotiating, perhaps his female costars, Lawrence and Amy Adams, would have known they were being out earned by Cooper, Christian Bale, and Jeremy Renner, as last year’s Sony hack revealed. Of Adams, Cooper said, “She worked every day on that movie and got paid nothing. It’s really horrible . . . it’s almost embarrassing.”
This is, and could be, the power of exchanging salary information. Cooper’s assurance will have an effect on the gender pay gap at the highest levels, but in a workforce where women still make 73 cents to a man’s dollar, sharing salary information should start occurring even among those who aren’t Hollywood heavyweights. It’s considered vulgar, or at the very least awkward, to talk numbers with coworkers.
Cooper and co. aren’t the only ones who don’t go there: How many of your work friends’ salaries do you know? But the fallout is that you don’t essentially know the going rates in your office, or your field at large, either.
As a result, women, who in the past have negotiated less forcefully, are more likely to accept less than they deserve. Consider the cast of Friends banding together and demanding that they each be paid a record high of $1 million an episode. (Otherwise, they said, they would all walk.) Was that an absurdly high number, especially in 2002? Yes. But was it a useful tactic in salary-sharing and negotiating? Yes. A fellow freelance writer and friend recently engaged me in an “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” conversation.
She emailed to ask what I’d been paid for a story by an outlet we both work for, revealing the rate they were offering her to write a similar story. “I hope it’s not too forward to ask,” she wrote, “but in your experience, does this sound right or a bit low? Just trying to figure out if I have leverage to ask for more.” As it turned out, it was a bit lower than what I’d been paid, and I was more than happy to tell her so.