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male colleague earning a lot more than me

(14 Posts)
IrishSea Wed 29-Jun-11 13:49:39

Please don’t judge me too harshly:

I have access to my bosses email, it’s for client purposes and for when he’s on leave. Until recently I have rarely looked at it, but we have just had a hiring spree for a new team we were building and that I am now part of so I was curious to find out more about my potential colleagues through their CVs so I snooped. I discovered that a new colleague on the same grade as me is on about 30% more than me (there is no one else on that grade). I’m in the private sector, our jobs are similar although I already have a book of business (part inherited, part built up myself) and he has been brought in to build up a book of business of his own.

Obviously I can’t approach my boss (or HR) as I have discovered this information through duplicitous means. I did have a conversation with him in a social setting and told him an acquaintance was a head hunter who told me my grade was earning in the range x – y (ie around what my new colleague is earning), he was evasive and suggested it wasn’t the case.

Thing is, I was happy enough with my wage until I discovered this, but now it’s driving my mad! Am I being unreasonable to expect similar pay?

Thanks for reading

IndigoBell Wed 29-Jun-11 14:08:14

This is how things work in the private sector.

How long has it been since your pay was reviewed? Does it get reviewed annually?

At your next review you'll have to ask for a pay rise.......

Else, you'll have to job hunt, now that you know what you're actually worth.

RoseC Wed 29-Jun-11 14:25:54

It may be down to what you can negotiate individually. A friend is the only woman in her office (v male dominated sector) and is on a better package (along with her closest colleague) simply because they pushed a harder bargain in the interview. Some aspects of it cause resentment but she's from a different culture where it's natural to haggle and so she thought it was expected and did well out of it.

IrishSea Wed 29-Jun-11 16:00:54

Thanks Indigo and Rose, I don't really want to walk as I like my job, I'm just a bit miffed at the moment. And you're right, I don't think it's a gender issue, I just think he was better at negotiating than I was!.

The next pay review isn't until Dec, which is a long time to fume. I guess I'll have to let it go (and forget all the nice things I could buy with the extra cash).

FakePlasticTrees Wed 29-Jun-11 16:10:53

Contact headhunters specialising in your work area. You can have informal chats to see if what you are being paid is normal for the sector/expertise you have or if what he has come in on is closer to the norm. Start testing the waters for moving to competitors - if you are being under paid and your boss knows it (hence paying new boy correctly), it's likely you'd get a counter offer. (as it will cost them that much to replace you anyway)

It's unlikely because he's male, it's more likely that you are being underpaid, if they can get away with it, they will, but someone coming from outside won't join for a pay cut.

Huffythetantrumslayer Wed 29-Jun-11 16:17:29

Isn't it illegal or something for men to be earning more than women doing the same job? No way I'd just let it go. surely if you're allowed access to your bosses e mail then it can be explained somehow?

mayorquimby Wed 29-Jun-11 16:28:29

"Isn't it illegal or something for men to be earning more than women doing the same job? "

As far as I'm aware it's illegal if the sole reason is due to their gender or if the job is one which has a flat rate throughout the corporation and the rate they are paying men is higher than that of women, once again based purely on their gender.
If however it is due to the negotiating skills of the party involved I don't think it's illegal.

fgaaagh Wed 29-Jun-11 16:49:12

"Isn't it illegal or something for men to be earning more than women doing the same job?"

It's not as simple as that - the difference in salary has to be due to discrimination due to gender, there are cases where men haggle harder or longer and they just get the raise.

This obviously wouldn't hold water in an engineering firm employing 500 employees, 50 of which are women who are paid an average of 40% less for the same level, of course grin But it's not as simple as the blanket quote above indicates..,

fgaaagh Wed 29-Jun-11 16:53:00

Interesting reading:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/jobs/06pre.html

fgaaagh Wed 29-Jun-11 16:54:07

Woops meant to link it:

Women, Repeat This: Don?t Ask, Don?t Get

Bartimaeus Wed 29-Jun-11 16:56:55

In my opinion it's not because he's male that he's earning more than you but because he's a new hire. The best way to advance salary wise is to regularly change companies and be a good negociator!!!

<disclaimer : obviously this only works in certain fields, and I'm generalising based on my experience>

DH has just changed companies. Very similar job, 25% payrise!!!

A lot of my friends negociate very hard when they change jobs because they know that once in a company, the payrises are not so good.

Also, if the new bloke was paid more than you in his old job, then obviously he's not going to take less in this new job, and if your company wants him then they'll pay what it takes to get him...

fgaaagh Wed 29-Jun-11 16:59:10

Bartimaeus exactly.

i won't move from my current job for less than a £5 - £6k payraise, because i have to factor in the fact that i can get a lifeshare where i am. that's worth cash to me (not having to pay full cost of public transport/car), etc. and that's just to break even.

so i won't jump for the hassle for less than a £10k pay rise. which sounds a lot but when i think about it is common sense.

Bartimaeus Wed 29-Jun-11 17:05:46

It's quite common in my field for people to change companies to do the same job but for better pay! Sometimes they even negociate a promotion into the bargain.

The logic followed by my friends and I is that you're taking a risk by changing companies (start of a new 6 month probationary period, you're not known, you might not like it, you start with 0 holidays etc. (I'm in France, there are different holiday rules here)) so the move needs to be worth your while.

IrishSea Wed 29-Jun-11 17:30:57

Thanks everyone. I think part of the problem is that I accepted the job two years ago when my industry looked like it was falling off a cliff and I was lucky to get a job, let alone one that was close to my parents (they relocated me), so I wasn’t in a very strong position to negotiate. Whereas my new colleague had a far stronger hand and wasn’t as ‘desperate’.

I love the idea of a girl scout negotiating badge (although I don't think my DD needs it, she could teach the UN a thing or two!)! I have read that part of the discrepancy between male and female pay is that as women just accept what they’re offered it, the difference then escalates over the years. I didn’t really want to whine to my boss, so I’ll use the next 6 months to put a convincing (non whinging) argument together. If I’m not happy then I might have to consider voting with my feet.

Thanks for all the replies.

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