Career Advice, Know Your Worth, Salaries, Salary Transparency

What to Do About a Pay Gap at Your Workplace

Co workers talking together at office space

It happens all the time. Someone who has just been hired, or hasn’t worked for a company for very long, makes more money than someone who has been there for many years and proven themselves to be a valuable employee. For instance, there are many instances where a male is going to earn more than a woman who has more training and experience. Have you found out that you are earning a lower salary than someone who is a more recent hire, or has less experience than you? Or does your company not pay fairlyIf so, it may be time for you to look for ways to be able to do something about it.

Don’t Blame Co-Workers

First of all, you need to remember that it is not your co-worker’s fault that they are being paid more than you are. Yes, you can be angry, but it is never a good idea to confront a co-worker about their salary. All it does is cause both of you to feel uncomfortable, and it causes a lot of anger in the workplace. Instead of being angry at them, use the fact that they are earning more as a reason to ask for a raise.

One thing that you should never do is ask your co-workers what they earn. Unless you are making comparable salaries, someone is going to end up angry because they are being paid less than others. This can lead to conflict within the team, and a lack of productivity that is not going to help you get the raise you deserve.

Learn About the Equal Pay Act

If you are a woman, it is important that you know about the Equal Pay Act. This act prohibits employers from paying women less than their male counterparts when they have the same amount of experience. If you are not a woman but are a minority, you may be eligible for some form of protection. If you think that you are being discriminated based on age, gender, or disability, the best thing to do is to contact the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOCC).

Unfortunately, most other employees have no legislative coverage. If you are not in one of the above-mentioned groups, you will need to consider your situation and decide whether you should address the issue with your employer.

Do Your Research

Before you walk into your boss’ office and ask for a raise, do some research as to what you should be earning, based on your training, experience, years with the company, geographic location, etc. If you do know for a fact that some of your co-workers are earning more than you, this is good information to be able to arm yourself with. Of course, as mentioned, it is not a good idea to ask co-workers about their salaries.

Just because you shouldn’t ask co-workers about their salaries, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways to find out. For instance, if you work for a university or a public company, some of the salaries are going to be public information. Or, there may be an association for your particular industry that offers surveys about salaries. It is a good idea to research salaries at least once annually.

Consider Your Approach

One of the most difficult things about asking for a raise is how to approach the situation in the first place. It is never a good idea to ask if the company is going through a transition period, as the money just isn’t going to be there. You also need to be able to gauge your employer’s mood. If you get them on a bad day, you aren’t likely to get what you ask for.

When you do decide to approach your employer, don’t go in making demands. That isn’t going to get you anywhere. It is better to negotiate. Tell them why you feel that you deserve a raise, and have confidence in your own value. This is going to get you a lot further than just going in and saying you want a raise, or else.

Negotiate for More Responsibility

It may be that you are being overlooked for a lot of big projects at work. If this is the case, instead of asking for a raise right away, try asking for more responsibility. “Ask to be put on the teams that are doing the big projects, or to do an extra project on your own. Ask if there are training opportunities, and if not, take outside courses and workshops to gain more skills and knowledge,” suggests training manager at IGotOffer.

If you are given the opportunities you seek, don’t waste them. If you are getting training, take in every ounce of information possible. If you are given bigger projects to work on, show them what you are really made of. These are the things that are going to put you in the running for a raise, or even a promotion.

Set a Deadline

What will you do if your employer says that they will give you a raise, but they never follow through on their promise? Or, what if the company just can’t afford to give you a raise at this time? You can only wait for so long before you are going to become even more disenchanted, and your work is going to suffer because you will stop caring.

It is important to set a deadline for what you want. For instance, if you have been working at your company for more than a year without a raise, you may need to decide that if you do not receive a raise within the next six months, this may not be the company for you.

Consider Your Options

If you are not getting the raise that you deserve, or other forms of compensation such as extra vacation time, a paid bonus, etc., it may be time to start considering other options. There are other companies out there that will value your experience and skills, and be willing to pay you the salary you truly deserve. Basically, if your current employer doesn’t see your value, find one who does.

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