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Are you getting paid less than your co-workers? | Updated: 7:55:29 AM, Thursday December 06, 2012
By Alex Wilson Are you getting paid less than your co-workers?

Sometimes it just slips out and you realise with horror that a co-worker is on a very different pay rate than you. But what do you do next? We look at some of the options.

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For many workplaces this time of year signals pay and bonus reviews. Whilst these decisions and outcomes are meant to be confidential, in many instances people become confronted with the fact that a co-worker is actually getting paid more than them.

Whilst this can have many knock on effects such as disengagement and low morale there may be some reasons for this pay disparity that have just not been considered.

Here is what you should keep in mind.

Experience is the key

One of the biggest indicators of differences in pay comes with differences in experience. Whilst you may have received a superficial overview of your colleague’s previous employment, it is unlikely you are aware of the full extent of their experience, skill sets and background.

Experience can be a powerful factor in the starting salary of an employee so even if you are on par year after year with pay increases, they could always be ahead.

Power in negotiation

The reality is that some people are better negotiators. There is the old saying based on the bible “ask and you shall receive”-well some people will ask and some will not. It has been commonly attributed that men are better negotiators than women in the workplace, perhaps because women are more afraid of losing their jobs if they are too assertive.

Whatever the reasons, having good negotiation skills is an important attribute needed not only when negotiating your contract, but also in your yearly reviews. Forget gender statistics, male, female, cat, dog, ask your employer and be assertive come pay review.

Having a degree could make a difference

Throughout the years, many studies have focused on differences in pay based on education. It has been found that those who have a degree not only tend to have higher salaries but are often favoured in recruitment and job promotions.

Best Friends Forever

Whilst this is rather unprofessional in the workplace it is not uncommon for some people to have BFF relationships with their managers and bosses.

In my last workplace one of my colleagues had a very obvious friendship with our manager. The result was that this particular colleague was rated higher in performance reviews, received higher bonuses and also more training and development opportunities.

Whilst you cannot control these types of relationships, you can ensure that you maintain a good relationship with your boss.

Some people are willing to do it all

In every job I have had, there is always someone willing to do anything and everything to get on the good side of the boss.

You may not be so willing to sacrifice yourself in the same way, and this could be costing you. In many workplaces key performance indicators incorporate some variation of whether you are willing to go above and beyond what is expected, and it is the ass-kissers that could come out on top.

Lack of reward may indicate your boss wants you to leave

There are so many regulations and laws around unlawful dismissal in Australia that may prove hard for your employer to fire you.

You may find that rewards are being deliberately withheld in the hopes that you will pack up and leave yourself. Whilst this is unethical, it means your boss doesn’t have to do the dirty work.

Maybe you just aren’t as good an employee as you think

I think this one is the hardest one for people to face. Your co-worker may be getting paid more than you simply because they are a better employee.

Everyone likes to think that they are a dedicated employee who is good at their job. I think I have heard just about everyone I know at some point say they are being undervalued and underpaid. It might be time to face facts that you aren’t as good as what you think.

It may be something as simple as that co-worker coming 5 minutes earlier every day, and leaving 5 minutes later every day that makes the difference in pay.

Please feel free to share your own stories.

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Savings Guide Logo Alex Wilson is the founder and editor of Savings Guide, Australia’s number one saving money website. For regular money saving tips, visit Savings Guide or follow Savings Guide on Facebook. Share this article |


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