Think I Should Be Paid More!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors:

I work in a small organisation. My role started as a part time position, taking on some Finance work and some Logistics work. Within a couple of months I had taken on more and more work, and during my review I asked if they would consider making me a full time employee, which they were happy to do. Since then I have taken on more Finance work, (whilst retaining my jobs from logistics) and have seen my responsibility grow, as well as my workload. I have been made a key-holder, a bank account signatory and am responsible for handling a lot of sensitive financial and personnel information.

I was happy to grow into this role, and pleased that I was trusted. However, handling this information has also informed me that I am the lowest paid in the company, I am paid 16% less than a co-worker who joined the organisation on the same day as me; she works Administration and is not in a trusted position handling payrolls etc. (I’m not downing Admin; I know it’s vital)

My supervisor (the only other person that runs the Finance department and was training me to cover her role when she took maternity leave. The training and planning for this was meticulously planned between the Manager and my Supervisor As fate would have it, that time came a few months earlier than expected and thus the official training was far from complete. I have however thrown myself into the role, doing jobs I’m not supposed to be able to, on a much higher financial level than expected of me. Payments are made on time, salaries paid, tax returns completed, there are some aspects which I cannot do, but am working closely with the company accountant to combat these problems. I was only ever informed of decisions that had been made.

Whilst I was happy to do what was asked of me, it is now starting to dawn on me that this will all be without reflection in my salary, which has remained the same since becoming full-time, despite the growing job-role. While I’m happy to do the work, I love my job and the company I work for, and I do not want to appear greedy, but there is a nagging part of me that believes that more work and responsibility deserves higher pay. Am I being unreasonable?

Signed, Do I Deserve More?

Dear Do I Deserve More?:

Salary and wage information usually are secret and unequal because business gets what it can for less. It is a matter of what the traffic will bear. Nevertheless, pay information tends to get out via the grapevine and/or if there is a union or civil service scale in place. Unequal pay is expected to motive greater effort. Often rather it generates divisiveness because it is difficult to put in place a perfectly fair system that rewards more smarts, responsibility, dedication, and discretionary effort.You are in job that has made you privy to pay information.

You know that you have worked into a job that takes expertise that not just anyone can has. So you are in the driver’s seat and must decide when and how to approach those who make pay decisions. Whether you are greedy will depend on how long you have been with your company and how much you say you want. Ideally, one is in a strong position to negotiate salary when being promoted, but that was some time ago, if I understand correctly.

When is your first or next review scheduled? That may be a time to learn if your work is satisfactory. That is also a time to express your pleasure with and commitment to the firm. If it’s not too long before your review, possibly this will be an appropriate time to broach the topic of salary and your continued work with the company. Probably, it will be best not to compare yourself with the individual hired at the same time as you, but you have the knowledge of what that person is paid and you can name a figure comparable to or more if you think you deserve more.

Is it possible for you to learn how pay is determined? Is there an expected schedule and path to progress in pay? Is it a matter of a committee or the head of your division, or a decision by the president of the company? Might it be wisest to not think and talk only about it now and what you would like to be earning, but also to ask if you prove valuable to the company and what is the career path for one with your skills and responsibilities?

My response to your question, of course, is lacking information of your past experience and training, and also it is lacking information you have gained since joining your company. Consequently, these thoughts are meant only to help you as you reflect on the question you pose. You are the one who can best answer your question. While deciding what you will do, it might be good for you to think of what you would do if you were president of the company, providing she/he is an honest individual, and then continue to work with that as your standard?

Do guard against taking yourself too seriously and trying to prove your worth by overworking? Are you maintaining balance in your life? Remember to tell yourself that you are not just an employee. You are a person too. And have you told yourself lately that play and work should not be poles apart–that a lighthearted touch helps with work that is boring and/or difficult? That’s enough for this sermon. Do feel free to let us know if these thoughts help you answer your question. Hopefully, you can increasingly feel good about your job and workplace. And more than that, may you be one of many co-workers who think and act with the spirit we call WEGO.

William Gorden