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Performance review - am I being paid less?
July 3, 2014 9:27 PM   Subscribe

My performance review is coming up, and after three years at the company, I'm doing the same job as a co-worker, which wasn't the job I was hired to do. I believe I am fairly compensated, and generally like my job. However as a female person twenty years younger than the male person I am sharing job duties with, I wonder if I should take the opportunity to address salary equity in a performance review or not. More Inside.

I have no idea what my salary is compared to my co-worker. I'm just considering making the point that, adjusted for the experience with the company years which he does have and should be compensated for, that I'm not loosing out or selling myself short on income.

This is not an asking for a raise situation, more of a planting the seed for a raise, or another opportunity within the company. This meeting just addresses what our goals and accomplishments are, and where in the annual raise structure of like 1 - 3% our raises fall.

I've never had any training or mentorship in negotiation, and usually err on the being passive and not making a mistake side. I am replaceable, but like everyone, I like to think it would be a PITA to do so.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Good idea: Discussing a possible raise at your performance review.

Bad idea: Bringing up your coworker, whose salary you don't know.

Even better idea: Discussing other opportunities within the company you might be a good fit for.

Even worse idea: Asking your boss to adjust for the years of experience your coworker has and should be compensated for, while making a case for your own raise.

Best idea: Approaching the performance review as a chance to actually review your accomplishments, plan for the future, discuss your career goals within the company, and advocate for additional opportunities/raises (leaving your coworker out of it entirely).
posted by leitmotif at 9:38 PM on July 3 [11 favorites]


discuss a raise, maybe include glassdoor statistics. Don't mention your coworker.
Otherwise, If you want more money, seriously look for a new job and require +NN% for the new salary, my experience has been raises only occur with finding a new job, why would your employer give you more money? you are still there.

ps. if you get a new job for more money, don't even ask your current employer to match it, just go, you are better off.
posted by TheAdamist at 9:47 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


The best way to find out if you are losing out on income would be to discreetly put yourself out in the marketplace. Can you command a better overall compensation package elsewhere? Since you've been with the company 3 years, and have (at maximum) gotten 3% raises each year, it's likely that yes, you can do better "out there".

You might find it interesting also to read some of the recent studies about lifetime earnings for people who change jobs frequently vs. those who stay put in a job for long stretches. Executive summary: job-changers make more money over the life of their career.

In terms of your review: your goal should be to get that 3% maximum raise. To do so, you'll want to go into the meeting with a list of your specific and measurable achievements. "I streamlined the RFP process, saving us 2 hours/week..." e.g.

This exercise will also be very helpful if you decide to put yourself in the job market -- you'll be nicely prepared to sell yourself.

I understand and applaud your desire to make sure you aren't being undercut by gender-biased attitudes toward compensation in your workplace, but it would be an ineffective negotiating tactic to introduce your co-worker's situation into the discussion.
posted by nacho fries at 11:08 PM on July 3 [1 favorite]


I worked for BigCo and often there is an organized raise structure such that your supervisor is pressured to devalue your contribution.

"I have no idea what my salary is compared to my co-worker. However as a female person twenty years younger than the male person I am sharing job duties with, I wonder if I should take the opportunity to address salary equity in a performance review or not."

Wait what? I've been more valuable than employees that were senior to me. Men and Women. It's almost axiomatic. They are part of the salary structure which indicates an annual raise.

Address your value.

"...but it would be an ineffective negotiating tactic to introduce your co-worker's situation into the discussion."

HR is risk averse. I think that stragety would be counterproductive.

In every discussion I've had in these matters with HR people, in companies I didn't work for, they advised that the best way to increase your salary was by changing companies as opposed to hoping for a raise from within.

Best of luck.
posted by vapidave at 2:15 AM on July 4


they advised that the best way to increase your salary was by changing companies as opposed to hoping for a raise from within.

If you're staying at the same job in the same company, you're going to get the same x% raise per year, every year. Your only option for a significant pay increase it to A) get promoted or B) find another job.

Honestly, it's not worth the effort to quibble over a percent or two with your supervisor in your yearly performance review -- if you're making 50k a year, you're talking what, another $300 a year after taxes for a 1 percent bump? Just take what they give you unless you feel like you're seriously underpaid (for example, you were hired to do an entry level job and ended up doing senior level work). If you want stuff that's going to seriously improve quality of life, talk about vacation time/work-from-home opportunities, etc. Or make clear that you're ambitious and looking to move up -- ask about promotion opportunities, if you feel like you're doing a good job.
posted by empath at 2:25 AM on July 4


Jill Abramson got fired for trying to do this.
posted by dekathelon at 3:55 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


A couple things:

• It's very difficult, and it certainly depends on the person you work with, but I have done this in a workplace, where we three people with the same title compared our salaries. REALLY I will stress that it depends on your coworker and your relationship. But in our case, we did find out that the two men with the same title made $10,000 more a year than the woman with the same title. We would never have found out any other way; management never would have told us, and no one else was in a position to know.

That may not be an option, which is fine.

Apart from that, this is a time for you to come in fairly hot at your performance review, and to give yourself a strong self-assessment, and, even better, to let them praise you.

• Companies will pay you anything they think they need to. The whole annual "salary bump" thing is for peons, basically. (SORRY.) I mean, it's barely keeping up with cost of living probably, or not, depending on where you live. If you're hot shit and they know you're hot shit *and* they know you're in demand, and you're pleasant and powerful about it, you can get more money and more title. This is a time to play for results, which means making them want to give you more money and often also making them think it's their idea.

Manipulators and stars alike get things you would be surprised to hear about. Squeaky wheels do get greased, as long as they're attractively squeaky. It's a dangerous game, of course, and it sounds like you're risk averse, but the thing to remember is that companies do not give people more money or more title or more anything unless they feel compelled to do so.

• What this means in practice is pretty complicated, and involves you basically making a flowchart about how these discussions should go. One way to do that is to start with the result. Do you want $10,000 more a year? Do you want a bonus on performance? Do you want a better title? Do you want a four-day workweek? Do you want to set better goals with management so that you can be on track to a more senior role in a year? Set that result and then work backwards about how you'll coordinate your conversation in your review.

Others are less mercenary. That's fine. But negotiators and thoughtful game-players get results. It's not fair, and it has some risk attached, and it's a little gross, but it's pretty real.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:59 AM on July 4 [11 favorites]


it's not worth the effort to quibble over a percent or two with your supervisor in your yearly performance review

This is bad advice. If you don't ask and make a case for yourself, you're not likely to get anything other than a cost of living bump (which usually doesn't actually cover the real changes). You just have to be able to justify why your expanded knowledge and duties are providing financial benefit to the company.

There's massive ripple effects on lifetime earnings for young people. Getting even a small bump now will make negotiating even more pay when she does switch to another role or company. It may only be $500-1000/year now, but that will be paid year after year throughout the career, it'll affect 401(k) matches, it'll be bumped up by cost of living raises.
posted by Candleman at 9:47 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


3% is basically inflation and cost of living increase, so anything less than that is actually a salary reduction and your bosses should explain why you wouldn't get the maximum, since anything less is basically a punishment.
posted by rhizome at 12:07 PM on July 4


I treat performance reviews as mini next-job interviews. I don't want to get paid more at my job, I want my boss's job and pay. Or likely not MY boss's job, but a job at that level in another specialty or division where I work. Around here, you don't get ahead in a straight line. You hop around changing job titles, with each one a little higher but different. After a while, your breadth of experience becomes another advantage to brag about, putting you over others.

So I go into those with tailored examples, not just of how good I am, but examples relevant to my next job target - how good I would also be at that. The "where do you see yourself in 5 years" question becomes really easy to answer. And it leaves them with the impression that you don't plan to wait until they decide to give you more money.

Twice now, I've gotten the promotion I wanted (over the more obvious successor waiting for it) not by waiting until it was open, but by making my intention to move up clear in my performance reviews.

If you just want to keep the same job title but get more money for it, well, I guess I've never had a job that worked like that and don't understand the concept. Unless the market has changed substantially or you have a better offer, I'd expect the "that won't be possible" brush-off.
posted by ctmf at 12:38 PM on July 4 [2 favorites]


Twice now, I've gotten the promotion I wanted (over the more obvious successor waiting for it) not by waiting until it was open, but by making my intention to move up clear in my performance reviews.

Same here. My performance review was pretty good last year, they told me I got the 'maximum allowed' performance bonus, which is like, whatever, but I made it clear that I was looking to move up. 6 months later, I got a promotion and a fairly significant raise. I wouldn't have even thought to ask for that much extra money for a performance bonus at the same job.
posted by empath at 9:43 PM on July 4


Just so you know, there is a very real chance that you will be fired for trying to leverage another worker's salary in negotiating for a raise.

The other worker is getting paid what he is worth to the company, and you are being paid what you are worth to the company. There is no relationship between your salary and his.
posted by Willie0248 at 11:06 PM on July 4


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