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What would you do if you learned you're at least $20K underpaid?

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What would you do if you learned you're at least $20K underpaid?

Old 02-25-08, 12:58 PM
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What would you do if you learned you're at least $20K underpaid?

I'm one of several supervisors in our department, and right now we're determining annual raises for our employees. My manager mentioned that several people in our department are grossly underpaid and that with the budget we have for raises, there's no way to get those people to where they need to be without cancelling raises for pretty much everyone else.

It turns out I'm one of those underpaid few. I expected that. What I wasn't expecting was learning how much I was being underpaid. As it turns out, I'm making $23K less than I should be making (according to the value our mother company places on my position and my current/previous yearly evaluations).

I need some ideas on what I can do. I know I won't be getting a $23K raise, and I also know that I took this job knowing the salary, so to some degree I shouldn't complain. But now that I learn what others are being paid, I realize I deserve more. Without knowing specifics, I do know that there are others in my roll making more than me but who have not exceeded the expectations set each year on our team (in other words, I'm doing a better job and getting paid less).

So what would you do? Quit? Demand more money? Let it slide? I just need ideas so I can make a plan, so let's hear what you got...
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Old 02-25-08, 01:01 PM
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Negotiate for $20K worth of time off during which you look for a new job. Unless you like all the time off.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:02 PM
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You know the realities of your company's financial situation (that they can't afford to pay you what they know you're worth), so you should probably polish up that resumé.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:05 PM
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If you are going to be underpaid "forever" then IMHO you should start looking for a new job.

Having the company tell you that you are underpaid and then tell you there is nothing they are going to do about is a real slap in the face.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:07 PM
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Well if you learned the market value of your position because it was published somewhere, I'd certainly bring it up to your boss that you are making 23k less than that, think you are one of the more productive/valuable members of your team, and deserve to be closer to that midpoint. You might at least get a good bump out of it if they think you are unhappy and really want to keep you.

Though, one of the crappiest parts of corporate culture is its hard to climb the pay scale when you start on the low end. When you start low, you always stay relatively low. Really, a lot of companies aren't set up to handle it well, and have way too rigid salary increase structures in place. So unfortunately, it might take switching jobs now that you have experience to get to place that will compensate you for what your worth.
It never makes much sense. They can hire someone new for your exact position for 23k more. But they can't just go out and give you 23k. Since that violates all the corporate red-tape that exists.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:12 PM
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Ask what they can do for you.

1 - paid training
2 - what kind of raise can they give you
3 - other benefits they can provide? (gym membership, company car, anything?)

Are you really sure this salary adjustment is accurate? Could you walk out the door and have a similar job paying $20k a year more in 30-60 days?

Sometimes these HR adjusted market salary surveys are not accurate of the current job market in your local area.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:17 PM
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The interesting thing is that we're going through some major changes with salaries...trying to make them more in line with other companies in the area. For example, I just hired a couple of people to report to me who make the same if not more than I do. They make the going rate, and our new policy is to bring people in at just below that midpoint.

Yet here I am, managing them, and doing a damn good job if I do say so myself, but not making what I deserve.

And for those paying attention, I almost turned in my two week notice in November. My boss talked me out of it after discussing other options, one of which was substantially more pay (which now appears not to be coming).
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Old 02-25-08, 01:18 PM
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Offer to help them out in getting you to the proper level. Rather than give YOU all the budget, offer to do it over the course of two years.

For example, they give you $11k bump at this review. Then you get a mid year review where they give you $6 more. Then you are entitled to the remaining $6k plus whatever else at your next annual review.

Of course, you always have the option to go somewhere where they will pay you what you are worth.

I would think a reasonable employer should strongly consider what I posted. If not, you are not valuable to them.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:19 PM
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Tough job market, don't quit until you have a new job.

Start looking today. They will never catch you up.
If you have a fair job offer in hand, they may counteroffer (but you probably shouldn't settle for it)
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Old 02-25-08, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeraden
It never makes much sense. They can hire someone new for your exact position for 23k more. But they can't just go out and give you 23k. Since that violates all the corporate red-tape that exists.
This is so true. We actually have a rule that if you quite, you can't be hired for 6 months because people were trying get that bump by quitting and rehiring.

Really sucks that a new supervisor with three year's experience elsewhere will get paid a certain amount, but I'm making $20K or so less with the same experience with this company.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:25 PM
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Unfortunately, hard to comment without knowing the % of the total salary 23k represents. I would look for another job to force their hand. Find out how much your department makes, why the budget for raises is too low and convince them to increase it to pay you.

Similar thing happened with my wife, was getting paid peanuts for what she did, about $33k a year in Manhattan. This is because her boss asked what she needed to live on in the interview to which she replied $30k. Needless to say any raise from there were % raises (as with everyone else) so over the next 2 to 3 years she was getting shafted. Brought it up to her boss 3 years later and was told there isn't any money for a raise and that her boss had fought hard for the 5% that she got. A month later my wife says she found a job for $15k more and was leaving. Low and behold it took about 45 minutes for her boss to contact HR and to tell her that they'll match it.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:27 PM
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1. Steal $23,000 worth of office supplies.
2. Sell on eBay
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Old 02-25-08, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by neiname
Unfortunately, hard to comment without knowing the % of the total salary 23k represents. I would look for another job to force their hand. Find out how much your department makes, why the budget for raises is too low and convince them to increase it to pay you.

Similar thing happened with my wife, was getting paid peanuts for what she did, about $33k a year in Manhattan. This is because her boss asked what she needed to live on in the interview to which she replied $30k. Needless to say any raise from there were % raises (as with everyone else) so over the next 2 to 3 years she was getting shafted. Brought it up to her boss 3 years later and was told there isn't any money for a raise and that her boss had fought hard for the 5% that she got. A month later my wife says she found a job for $15k more and was leaving. Low and behold it took about 45 minutes for her boss to contact HR and to tell her that they'll match it.
Gotta love corporate America.

As for percentages, the $23K represents about 1/4 of my current salary, so getting a full raise would be a 25% jump.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:38 PM
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Negotiate some benefits, like a car allowance, etc...

My wife's job does this to people under the moniker of "compression".

Let's say that a new person starts at $30k/yr and gets 3% salary increases for the next 3 years.

In year 3 that person will make $32,781.

During that time, the salary range for that position increases to $33,500.

A new person hired at that position will start at $33,500k/yr and make more than the same person in that position who has been there for 3 years.
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Old 02-25-08, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bishop2knight
Gotta love corporate America.

As for percentages, the $23K represents about 1/4 of my current salary, so getting a full raise would be a 25% jump.

I like the previous advice fo asking for half now with an understanding that you would get bumped up another quarter mid-year if available and followup with the other quarter next year. I could see this as a give from your end that your boss would appreciate and likely do. I see it as you're not likely to get the full $23k now so try to negotiate as much as you can and look for another job.

Last edited by neiname; 02-25-08 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 02-25-08, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by bishop2knight
Gotta love corporate America.

As for percentages, the $23K represents about 1/4 of my current salary, so getting a full raise would be a 25% jump.

go find another job that pays $23,000 more than your current job

compare the actuall cash you will have left after taxes and expenses to what you are making now. i can find another job for more money, but the extra expenses i'll incur like buying new clothes, traveling farther, paying more for my son's babysitter doesn't make it worthwhile to change jobs
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Old 02-25-08, 02:57 PM
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Even a 10 grand raise (depending on what percentage that is above what you're making now) is going to pull some red flags and red tape. The unfortunate thing is that, for a lot of positions, you'll only get significant raises by changing positions or moving to a new company (or, as people have said before, getting another offer and hoping your current company will match... but there's still red tape there). I've been in situations before where I've loved working for Company A, but they just couldn't match Company B's offer because of the percentages, even if I was grossly underpaid compared to what someone coming in would be making.
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Old 02-25-08, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian Shannon
If you are going to be underpaid "forever" then IMHO you should start looking for a new job.

Having the company tell you that you are underpaid and then tell you there is nothing they are going to do about is a real slap in the face.

I've been there, and done that. That's why I transferred to a different department where I work and before I accepted the position I researched what somebody in my area makes for that job on salary.com and was quite satisfied with what they offered. I hoped for more, but I was satisfied. It got me out of a job I knew I was being underpaid in and could do nothing about it.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:04 PM
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Yeah, if the company somehow has money to pay new people more money than you... then by extension, they have the money to pay you.

Talk to your boss, or get a new job and then turn in your notice.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bishop2knight
And for those paying attention, I almost turned in my two week notice in November. My boss talked me out of it after discussing other options, one of which was substantially more pay (which now appears not to be coming).
Quit. That's bullshit.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bishop2knight
And for those paying attention, I almost turned in my two week notice in November. My boss talked me out of it after discussing other options, one of which was substantially more pay (which now appears not to be coming).
Don't quit, but go find another job RIGHT NOW. This is a huge red flag that they don't value your contributions.

I've been in your shoes. The only way to get what you deserve is find another job. And then come back in a couple of years, if you want to, and they'll rehire you at the higher salary. Been there, done that.

Stupid that you have to switch companies, but as has been said it's just corporate red tape.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:24 PM
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If they can't give you a full $23K raise, can't you ask what they can give you now, as well as the future? I'd take that value and compare it with other potential opportunities that might be available to you and weigh your options.

Like al_bundy said, if another job results in that many more expenses or headaches, and you'd be comfortable in your current job + small raise, it doesn't seem too terrible to stay. I guess it really depends if you really can get that much more elsewhere.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by calhoun07
I've been there, and done that. That's why I transferred to a different department where I work and before I accepted the position I researched what somebody in my area makes for that job on salary.com and was quite satisfied with what they offered. I hoped for more, but I was satisfied. It got me out of a job I knew I was being underpaid in and could do nothing about it.

i don't know how much you can trust salary.com

what are real job ads advertising for your position?
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