Pay Equity and Diplomacy
November 7, 2021 2:40 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to get a pay raise at my job and am debating whether to bring up a particular point.

I am asking for a raise because half my job has increased in complexity and autonomy. The person who did that work before me had an hourly wage about 25 percent more than mine.

When I brought this up, one reaction from my manager was concern about "equity". He said that there were other people equally deserving.

I suspect he is talking about a few people who I will call my cohort. From a public records request, I know that my cohort and I are all now making the same wage. But we all have fairly disparate jobs.

We all started with the organization as part-time "trainees" while in college. We all graduated at the same time and have a degree in the same field.

I was the first hired into a regular full-time staff position. When we graduated from college, their pay got bumped up, but mine did not. I was making $4 less per hour for about six months.

The pay amounts could also be related to sex discrimination. I am a woman. My cohort was making the same amount as a woman who had been doing similar work as mine for several years already. My cohort includes a female programmer who is making the same amount as a man doing less-technical work.

Anyway, when I lay out my case for a raise to my manager, should I mention these other matters about pay equity? (I have a chart with everyone's pay.) Or just stick with fact of my work becoming more complex and autonomous?
posted by furtheryet to Work & Money (3 answers total)
Stick to the particulars of your work duties and make your argument from a position of your increased responsibility, workload, and history of successful delivery.

Circumstances differ by regional law and industry, but in mine (US, private company, tech) any argument for a wage increase that brings up a numbers comparison between you and any other individual employee is a complete non starter. Your coworker's salary is irrelevant.

What is relevant is average salary range for your role/similar industry-wide, your personal history of salary increases, and your performance.

And then if you're denied, ask them to provide to you in writing a written explanation of why the company will not be able to increase your pay. This is a fairly blatant move that says to them "hey you and I both know this is sexism, so how bout you memorialize that for me" and may scare up a small placating raise while you search for another job.

("Other people are equally deserving" is bullshit. If that's the case the company needs to have a come to jesus about their comps and increase the salary bands across the org and you should search for another job.)
posted by phunniemee at 3:25 PM on November 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

With your degree and a wage chart of the title of job or similarly dutied titles in your field in that area of the country, try to point to the areas of the position you have the desired expertise in, the lack of viable candidates with said experience and a degrees (companies would give away experience for knowledge) and your dedication to the company and staying on vs. them having to replace you. The male/female pay rate argument will not hold up in a court room or board room. Defend your request with how valuable you are not how much you cost.
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 10:31 PM on November 7, 2021

when I lay out my case for a raise to my manager, should I mention these other matters about pay equity? (I have a chart with everyone's pay.) Or just stick with fact of my work becoming more complex and autonomous?

The right answer is context specific. I think in the majority of places the answer is no, it will fudge your argument and in general, although they cannot illegally discriminate, employers don't have to be 'fair'. In some places in the public sector it is almost impossible to get a raise due to increased responsibility (you would need the job to be reclassified and then possibly have to reapply for it) but equity is occasionally a successful argument. I think you should know if you're in the latter scenario.
posted by plonkee at 4:27 AM on November 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

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