Advice on salary please?

(12 Posts)
NameChange2014 Sat 08-Feb-14 11:27:52

Have NCd. This is inspired by all the threads about high earning women recently.

I occupy a relatively rare job description, about 40 people in the country do something similar and my job is one of two in terms of exact responsibilities, oversight etc. so it's not easy to find a market benchmark or salary progression scale.

There is a lot of responsibility within the role and it is commercially critical.

However they pretty much picked me with no experience in the industry, let alone the role, and let me have free reign from the beginning. I would say it has paid off massively for them - my predecessor had ten years' experience, was probably on a much higher salary and made some serious errors in his work that I spent my first few months correcting.

I have a long commute and don't see my family much in the week, so they are flexible in terms of remote (not home) working from other offices, which I greatly value. I also want to stay with them whilst we are trying for DC as I have seen they treat pregnant coworkers extremely well (i.e. like normal people, no discrimination/reduction in work etc.), so I don't want to create bad feeling and I don't really want to leave.

Over the last year I have begun to think I am being underpaid compared to the market rate. Similar jobs range anywhere from £35k to £50k. I am being paid £30k and suspect that for the work I do, minus a hit for my lack of experience/youth, I should be on £40k. I would expect to be on £50k within 5-7 years.

We don't need the money, but I don't want to lose it either. I have an appraisal on Monday... should I bring it up? I don't seriously want to leave because of the maternity thing (I get the impression on here that good companies are like hens teeth) so I feel I have no bargaining chip.

For context, I suspect I will be getting a pay rise of inflation + about £2k, to bring my salary to £33k total. But for what I do it feels cheap.

I also don't know how to raise it, as when I have tentatively discussed it before my manager said I was getting a good deal - which, a year ago when I had relatively little experience, I would agree with. But now I am not so sure. It's been a baptism of fire so in a year I have basically had at least two years of serious in-depth experience in terms of issues we have dealt with - most of them crop up once in a blue moon and the majority have happened to me this year, it's been intense!

caroldecker Sat 08-Feb-14 14:45:54

The main reason that women are paid less than men is that they do not ask for more.
I think you need to lay out your expectations in the meeting. It is unlikely they will agree to more today as they have set budgets/agreed etc, but if you lay out your expectations - £50k in 5 years means £4k a year above inflation. I think you also need to show the value you add to the organisation - what was the value of the errors you corrected in the early days etc
They can only say no - your choice then whether to stay or go.

LauraBridges Sat 08-Feb-14 15:02:23

Yes, they will have set budgets and need to plan unless they are very well off and a big rise would be nothing. One of my 20 somethings went for a big pay rise last year. She found out what similar jobs earn (you have a problem here though in that there are few others), she sought high paid job offers elsewhere and then she approached the company with that information. They went away so that their HR could do some benchmarking themselves and gave her the rise.

Are you in a career where regular large rises as your experience increases are common?

Arohaitis Sat 08-Feb-14 15:02:34

Yes what Carol says but I suppose also how obvious those errors were, would anyone have been able to spot them and correct them?

To ask for a 30% pay rise after 1 year of experience (if I read that right) would be exceptional just about everywhere I think

so I guess your real problem is that you started on too low a salary, but then if you were young with no experience and the errors were obvious, it was probably right at the time.

Sorry just rambling about your salary...
Is there something else they could give you that is also of value but less 'obvious' a car, a season ticket loan etc?

fascicle Sat 08-Feb-14 17:24:55

I would bring up your salary at the end of the appraisal (don't ever be put off by a boss's previous response - it's a reasonable issue to raise). I also agree with Laura. Gather some evidence of salaries for other similar jobs and mention that the market rate seems to be higher elsewhere and with your increased experience, you're now in a position to add even more value to the organisation. Your boss is unlikely to give a definitive answer on the spot, so expect to leave it with her for consideration. A 30% rise does seem ambitious, but it sounds like you certainly have room to negotiate something significant.

LauraBridges Sat 08-Feb-14 18:08:05

My daughter had the same issue - the initial pay was far too low. She has kept going on and on to her boss about a rise and it took a lot of going on and on to him to get him to do the pay review. I think she got £5k more plus £4k bonus and now it is better. The comparisons with other people in similar jobs in similar companies was what swung it rather than how brilliant or otherwise she was at her job. The boss has to justify it to his colleagues I suppose and it will always come out of someone's budget. Of course if they are planning to sack you they might jump at the request for more pay as a chance to start easing someone out which was another issues I talked over with my daughter (and we didn't think that was so - she's pretty good).

It is not easy whether you're male or female to ask for more pay in the current economic climate but last week it was suggested in the press that wages were on the rise and in some industries there are more jobs so perhaps wage rises may well start to happen again. It's been a hard 5 years on that front.

Blankiefan Sat 08-Feb-14 21:08:06

PP is absolutely right re: women not asking for payrises. The one time I really needed to do it, and did it, I ended up increasing my salary by nearly 50% in three years.

As others have said, your conversation needs to be about the medium term - given budgets, etc which would make much more than an immediate small extra increment unrealistic. As well as taking comparative salary evidence, the question that worked for me was "What do you need me to deliver in order to move my salary to £XXK?"

Good luck

Do not mention your youth as reason for low pay. Lack of experience maybe but youth in itself is not a good reason for low pay

NameChange2014 Sun 09-Feb-14 16:31:26

Thank you all for your replies. It's given me a lot of food for thought. I have a performance review (annual) tomorrow.

I guess the issue is, as Stealth says, not my youth or inexperience any more but parity with other people doing a similar job.

On paper I've had a year full of pay rises - I started in a very junior supporting role and my salary was half what it is now. I proved myself and got the new job with the £30k salary within four months, which reflected experience. Last time I mentioned it to my boss (everyone else got an automatic pay rise in April, I didn't) he pointed out that he considered the change in role in March to in effect be enough of a pay rise for me.

Which sounds like it is - it's a huge jump. But if you put it into the context of other people doing the same role I am definitely paid less than all of them and I feel that I work just as hard and perform as well (if not better than some - like my predecessor).

My boss has mentioned that he has instigated an informal pay rise system, so that in four years I will earn approx £38k as long as I hit all my targets but I don't have this in writing. However in four years I would honestly expect to be doing a different, more complex job, within the same area and earning approx £45k, certainly no less than £40k (judging on others in the industry).

I guess I worry about being financially undervalued for the job I do, having read so much about it on here.

NameChange2014 Mon 10-Feb-14 18:08:21

Just to update: I had a glowing review so did raise it and my boss acknowledged that I was outperforming their expectations and now in line with my peers who are doing an equal job with more experience. He is taking it back to HR to discuss what they can offer smile

Thank you for your advice.

fascicle Tue 11-Feb-14 10:35:56

Fantastic, NameChange. Here's to a good offer. smile

JeanSeberg Tue 11-Feb-14 10:42:13

That's a positive update. Don't let him off the hook though and don't accept his first offer. wink

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