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Advice: I think I'm getting underpaid at work

Niel

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jul 23, 2012
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I work in an office and our pay is very "secretive" .

Depending on your salary grade you get paid within a range. So, one salary grade makes anywhere between a high number and a low number, and the higher the salary grade, the range moves up.
One would assume where you fall in that range is determined by tenur, performance, and education.

Two women who sit by me have the same performance reviews, same education, and one has as much tenure as I do, another has worked here 2 years less. They have not gotten they became the same salary grade as me at the exact same time.

They make 5% more than I do.

Another indicator is when I worked in another department a friend of mine got hired into the same department. She actually has the EXACT degree as me, was hired in with a lower salary grade, and was given a salary equal /slightly higher than me.

I don't know what to do, I know they will say. "Well its in a range" but clearly the range isn't based on tenure, performance, or salary grade, so how exactly am I making a noticeably lower amount each month? (Which also means my bonus is less, too)

Furious.
 

Snowdrop13

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Sounds unfair to me. Can you talk to your boss? I'd rehearse your argument then go and speak to him/her. It is definitely worth asking for a raise.
 

House Cat

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If you had to guess, why are they being paid more than you?
 

PintoBean

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It always seems to me that people who are hired more recently can get a better salary than people who have been in the company longer but are at the same level as the new hire's position.

What I did once was to go on a website like salary.com and print out the stats on what the position should be paying in our locale. It was significantly more than what I was getting. Come review time, I let my boss know that I would appreciate it if they took into consideration what the average pay is for this kind of position in the area. And what is funny is that when you print out the graph, it also puts a handful of job posts at the bottom :lol: I was given a raise+bonus that was close to the stats i gave my boss.
 

sonnyjane

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You have a valid argument, BUT, how did you come to know that they make more? Some companies have policies about that so make sure they don't catch you off-guard.

It might be in your best interest to prepare some evidence supporting how valuable you are and ask for a raise independent of mentioning what they make.
 

Niel

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House Cat|1456768910|3997387 said:
If you had to guess, why are they being paid more than you?

Well, I think because the woman who worked here less than me was hired in later. I think people who've been hired in later got a higher starting salary (per my friend is where I got this suspicion)

My coworker who's worked here the same amount I think because she started in this department, and j started in a different one. I suspect when. I was hired- the department I started in was paid even less than the one I'm in now.
 

Niel

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I was thinking of first having her print off the "range" of salaries for my salary grade, my department, and my education level. Then, evaluating based on that where I fall in this graph.
 

azstonie

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Maybe a different way to think here:

You want to open negotiations regarding your salary. You don't necessarily give a rip what they other people make. You want to be well paid for the quality work you do and the responsibility you take on at work.

I saw success in getting a raise for existing employees when the negotiations came on the heels of a major workplace accomplishment.

I think that that is a stronger position for salary negotiation---pointing to an immediate accomplishment or value you brought in/produced, as opposed to "They are making more salary and bonus than I do." The latter will only invite the other party to argue THAT with you rather than getting down to what's important, which is YOUR MONEY 8-)

Pointing out the bonus issue is very valid. If your salary is out of adjustment then so will your bonus.

Or not. This is just my experience as an employee and then as a supervisor. I hope you get the money, Niel!!!
 

Niel

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I do have "accomplishment s", but the nature of my business is call driven and each individual makes little variation in there tasks from day to day. It's a call center.

Do I volunteer to take extra work, train people, lead meetings, submit feedback for improvements? For sure.

But we aren't like a sales team or consultant firm where I can say. " here's what I did for the company ".

I HAVE made major improvements for my department and I have asked to be compensated for them, but i get " your salary is based on your salary grade"

I've asked a few of my close colleagues I feel comfortable discussing it with and we're in agreement that people who came from other departments on the whole make less than those who started here.
 

telephone89

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I've done some of the pay increases with my company, so I know how much most/all of my colleagues make and in some cases, why. One of our highest paid people came over for a lucrative offer. So he was paid more initially, and a x% raise each year on top of that keeps him climbing.
One of the lower paid employees has worked in basically every position in the company (10 years), but each position change came with a small pay increase and she wasn't eligible for a raise (need to be in the position for 1 year).

That being said, I would 100% leave out that you know how much other people make. That could get you (and them!) into serious trouble. However I think it's fair to ask for more info regarding the pay grade/scale and how that factors in. Are you underpaid in the industry? You could find examples of outside jobs and what they pay (or offer in terms of other benefits).

One of the biggest reasons women are underpaid is because they don't speak up and talk about it! Men are generally* more comfortable doing that and see positive results overall.

*huge generalization, but there are tons of studies to back it up.
 

Lady_Disdain

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Niel|1456782099|3997508 said:
I HAVE made major improvements for my department and I have asked to be compensated for them, but i get " your salary is based on your salary grade"
And that is when you answer "Yes and I am currently in the low/medium point of the curve. Based on these accomplishments and XYZ responsibilities I have taken on, I should be higher in the pay curve for my grade."
 

Niel

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Yes I don't plan to say I know how much people make, I said I was concerned I was underpaid compared to comparable coworkers and I've asked for the range for which I fit into. So therefore I can see where in the sliding scale I fall.

I know we aren't suppose to talk about our salary, but I find that ridiculous. This is how gender pay equality happens. When you don't have a clear salary scale.
 

Tacori E-ring

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I can relate. I KNOW I am being underpaid especially when I compare my work load to my co-workers. I found out what a co-worker makes with 1/3 the caseload and I was pissed. I have told my boss I feel underpaid. He just makes jokes like, "I got a good deal." I work for a large hospital system. I like to believe if my boss was in control of my salary he would give me a raise. However, I know that is not how it works. I think he has very little control over it. I suppose when I get tired I can find a better paying job. As it will take years to get to where I want to be. But I have to be prepared to walk away if they cannot meet my requests. I am not ready to do that. I am also trying to play the long game. He tells me there will be promotions in the future. Hope he is telling the truth.
 

UrsTx

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Hi Niel - I'm not sure where you're located but if you're in the US, it is illegal to prevent employees from discussing pay rates and salaries, even if you're not in a union. However, it's hard to prove dismissal from a job based on that factor alone (sharing salary info). Employers can state in handbooks etc that you can't discuss pay but it's legally allowed.

What you're asking for is a "market adjustment," meaning you're asking them to review your current postition, responsibilities, etc against internal and external averages in the industry. You are asking to be adjusted to the earnings level of someone with your skill level and length of work experience. I agree that you need to pull salary surveys to gauge the average for your industry and also your region in the country, if possible. Plot where you are in your employer-created range and where you'd like to be. Yes, have a list of accomplishments, big or small, ready in case you're meeting with someone unfamiliar with your work history. If your evaluations have been positsive, that will also help.

Tips: I agree that you don't disclose that you know what others earn - supervisors don't appreciate "I want abc because Sally has xyz." Be prepared to answer the "what if we don't give you a raise" question. If they can't or won't give you a raise, is there something else you'd be willing to have like more vacation time or an altered work schedule? But don't offer those things until you hear no. Also don't expect to hear an answer that same day or even the same week.

I did the above and had to wait three weeks for an answer, but I got the adjustment I asked for.

Extra info you may not care about but I'm a nerd: :lol:

https://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/employee-rights
Activity Outside a Union

Employees who are not represented by a union also have rights under the NLRA. Specifically, the National Labor Relations Board protects the rights of employees to engage in “concerted activity”, which is when two or more employees take action for their mutual aid or protection regarding terms and conditions of employment. A single employee may also engage in protected concerted activity if he or she is acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer’s attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action.

A few examples of protected concerted activities are:

Two or more employees addressing their employer about improving their pay.
Two or more employees discussing work-related issues beyond pay, such as safety concerns, with each other.
An employee speaking to an employer on behalf of one or more co-workers about improving workplace conditions.
 
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