Dear Aunty B,
I’m a senior executive and I have been in my current position for almost 12 months. I recently found out another senior executive at the company I work for is on a much higher salary than me, despite being in their role for the same amount of time.
It’s seems so unfair and I can’t help but think there must be some reason why the owner of the business likes this person better than me. I work just as hard as this person and now I find out their work is more valued than mine.
What would you do in this situation Aunty B?
There are a number of good reasons why most companies don’t disclose how much each of their employees are paid and one of those is to avoid these feelings of being undervalued.
If, as you have found out, you are being paid less than a co-worker and this seems unfair for whatever reason, all of a sudden the way you view everything about your workplace will change.
As a business owner myself, I can tell you that managing employee salary expectations is one of the more difficult parts of the job.
But before you start convincing yourself that the difference between your salary and your co-worker’s is personal, have a read of this blog from Art Markman, a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas.
Writing for FastCompany on this topic, Markman explains that there a many different reasons why two workers doing the same role may be paid differently, from the level of experience the individuals have to how they have negotiated for their salary.
Markmann offers what I believe is sound advice.
“Knowing that your colleague makes more money than you do is useful information because it gives you a sense of what kind of salary is possible within the organisation,” he says.
“Hard as it may be, try not to spend your time agonising over whether your colleague will continue to make more money than you. In the end, that doesn’t really matter.
“What does matter is that you ultimately feel like you are getting paid a reasonable salary for the work you are doing. Don’t be afraid to continue to negotiate your salary when the opportunity arises.”
Your letter mentions that you have been in your position for almost 12 months. Why not use your 12-month review as an opportunity to talk to your boss about your salary – and the great work you’ve been doing for their business.