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To ask for same pay as male colleague for same role?

(45 Posts)
Clearlynotmyname Sun 04-Sep-16 09:16:57

I've just been through a restructure at work and a male colleague and I were both promoted into senior roles - similar (but not identical) jobs of the same level.

We both received pay rises as a result, but I've just found out that he is now on 20% more than me. We used to be on roughly the same salary.

I have more years of experience, and more direct experience in the field we're in. My team and budget is also significantly larger, so it can't be justified on that basis.

Unlike him though, I am not mates with the top management, and I did not go to them recently with an external offer and threaten to leave. Instead I actually said I wanted to stay - nice reward for my loyalty!

I know I can't expect a good pay deal to land in my lap, I have to negotiate. Which is why men are often paid more, because they are more willing to do that! Am I being naive to think that getting equal pay is remotely realistic? If not, I could do with advice on how to approach it and fight the case, without having to waste time going out and getting another offer, ideally.

One more piece of info: the company is a famous brand, whose reputation would be damaged by any whiff of discrimination. But threatening them is not really something I want to do either! I do love working there, but the pay structure is a mess.

Coldhandscoldheart Sun 04-Sep-16 09:19:08

My feeling is, don't ask, don't get. And not asking is one of he reasons that women get paid less.
I'm not sure how you go about that though, although you sound in a good position. Good luck with it, let us know how it goes?

Gardencentregroupie Sun 04-Sep-16 09:20:28

I bet your colleague didn't have another offer, he was just calling their bluff. He negotiated harder so he got more money. You've been nice, and nice gets fuck all in business. Time to stop being nice and take a leaf from your colleague's book.

Gizlotsmum Sun 04-Sep-16 09:23:28

Can you find out what equivalent roles in other companies in the same sector pay? Use that as a starting point. How did you find out what he was paid?

You need to show why you are worth more than you are paid now, not just in comparison to your colleague

CreamTeaFor4 Sun 04-Sep-16 09:25:53

In some companies, sharing salary information is discouraged so would either you or he get into trouble for knowing his salary? Would the company confirm the difference or just blank you?

It doesn't have to be "threatening" to point out that pay should be at parity in these posts, that you have more experience (if they need persuading), that it would be embarrassing for the company if anyone external gets a whiff of this...

However if the pay structure is a mess, ask to see it and to go through why you're only paid x and the other guy is paid x + 20%.

justilou Sun 04-Sep-16 09:27:25

Go - but don't get emotional or say it's not fair. Put it to them that they have obviously overlooked the pay rise that you have been waiting for and are entitled to - commensurate with his, your extra experience and the higher budget that you work with. Start the negotiating wage higher than his and they should (in theory) work back to be equal.

44PumpLane Sun 04-Sep-16 09:28:59

I think it sounds less like pay inequality based on sexism and more like pay inequality because he has negotiated a better pay rate than you- if you want more you need to ask!

If you feel you deserve a pay rise then list out all the reasons why (increased level of responsibility compared to colleague, what have you contributed to the business etc). Have a Google, there are a lot of good articles out there on how to ask for a pay rise (eg look at the Guardian Women in Leadership pages).

When I moved roles within my organisation there was a pay freeze on, but I very clearly told the management teams I wouldn't be moving without a pay rise. I was straightforward with them, if I'd been moving externally I'd have wanted 10% uplift, internally I asked for 7%, I got 5% (which given the pay and recruitment freeze I thought was fine). I wasn't embarrassed to ask for more money- no one is coming to work for free for their love of the job (well. It in my company anyway). You just have to do it!

Clearlynotmyname Sun 04-Sep-16 09:29:19

Thanks all. I'm starting to gather info for the negotiation!

Gizlot I suspected we may not be on the same, so I asked him outright, and he squirmed a bit before coming out with it grin. Though he's not British so that helped. Pretty sure he was telling the truth.

FrankUnderwoodsWife Sun 04-Sep-16 09:32:40

I find pay discrimination of this kind intensely infuriating. It is totally unacceptable.

Put your professional hat on and schedule a meeting with your boss.
When scheduling the meeting tell them you want to discuss your pay.

In your meeting lay out the facts, calmly and unemotively (as you've done here), and ask them why this is acceptable. Get him/her to explain themselves! You are in a very strong position to negotiate a pay increase to the same level as your colleague.

Do not allow them to fob you off with excuses. This is something within their power to rectify immediately.

If you don't get a satisfactory resolution, do not be afraid of raising a grievance and getting legal advice. The law is on your side!

Clearlynotmyname Sun 04-Sep-16 09:33:43

X posted with lots of these, will try and keep up!

CreamTea we don't have a secrecy clause and apparently those are unenforceable anyway, so not worried about getting into trouble for talking about salaries, no

Clearlynotmyname Sun 04-Sep-16 09:35:07

justilou - that's exactly my problem, I find it hard not to get emotional in these types of conversations. Even though I know it doesn't help, and hardly reinforces my argument of being senior enough to justify a higher pay!

Gardencentregroupie Sun 04-Sep-16 09:35:50

I strongly believe secrecy about salaries is encouraged by companies to allow them to get away with discriminatory practices anyway.

ReallyTired Sun 04-Sep-16 09:35:50

I successfully made an equal pay claim against a large employer. Just be aware it may well affect your relationship with your employer. Getting an offer elsewhere is more effective and less damaging to the employer/ employee relationship. I was in a slightly different position to you. My employer significantly upped the level of responsiblity I had and refused to give me a pay rise. I couldn't just leave because I had just come back from maternity and would have had to pay back thousands of maternity pay.

In your position I would talk to your line manager informally first. This website has advice about questions to ask your employer.

www.equalpayportal.co.uk/for-workers/

CurlsLDN Sun 04-Sep-16 09:36:43

Op this book is really fantastic. The first few chapters explore why women in exactly your circumstance often end up on considerably less than their male equals, and will arm you with confidence and how (and why!) to approach your managers about this
www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0007235194/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472978070&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=love+is+not+enough&dpPl=1&dpID=51NXrdKpWqL&ref=plSrch#productDescription_secondary_view_div_1472978081438

Clearlynotmyname Sun 04-Sep-16 09:39:51

Wow, so much useful info, thank you so much everyone!

I have to disappear for a bit as have left dh alone with the kids for too long and I can hear screaming going on in the background smile

But will be going through in detail later and build my case to talk to my boss next week. Thanks again!

FrancisCrawford Sun 04-Sep-16 09:45:55

It may be helpful to try to identify reasons for why your employer should not be paying you both equally and use that as a tool focus your thoughts when building your case.

I suspect there will not be any, and that this is just a case of sexism.

It sounds as if you should be receiving a higher salary if they wish to retain you AND your goodwill!

Best of luck

Lessthanaballpark Sun 04-Sep-16 09:48:40

Ask them how happy they would be if you put in 20% less effort than him!

Good luck.

SolomanDaisy Sun 04-Sep-16 09:54:41

I did this once when I found out a man doing this same job as me, but not nearly as well, was being paid more. I just went and said that it was outright discrimination and did they want to sort it or should I ask my union for help? I got the increase and I got it back dated! I was fairly junior and bolshy at the time though.

happypoobum Sun 04-Sep-16 09:59:03

Agree with PP it is illegal to have pay secrecy clauses in contracts.

Have a look at this

My advice is to have a quiet word with your manager about it, and if he fluffs you off, go directly to HR. They are far more likely to look at this objectively than more senior management. Do you have a union? They would also be able to help you. Good luck!

LifeOfBriony Sun 04-Sep-16 09:59:41

Do you have job descriptions you could compare as further evidence?

anotheronebitthedust Sun 04-Sep-16 11:32:23

Write bullet points down on a list to take in with you, so you can refer to them and repeat things if needed if they ignore it when you say it the first time. Have one or two specific examples, e.g. I started in x year, colleague started in y year, or, "as you know I exceeded my target by x % in y project last year," or, a [can be fictional!] friend who works for similar organisation was surprised at my salary as she earns x for a very similar role....

If you feel you are getting emotional at any point, just stop talking (at the end of a sentence obviously! grin) and wait for your boss/hr to speak. People don't like silences so they will rush to fill the gap. Then, when you have had a few seconds to calm down, go on to your next point.

No need to be emotional - there's nothing to worry about. They won't sack you for asking, so the worst thing that can happen is they say no, and you can go from there, and the best thing that happens is they say yes!
Good luck!

StarkintheSouth Sun 04-Sep-16 12:44:30

I have a similar situation- I was promoted over two years ago as the manager above me left and I moved up- doing most of his role but not quite so I was given Coordinator title, not manager. Over the past couple years my role has changed and I have been given all the responsibility my former colleague had and more. Yet no manager title or pay to match. Now I have the financial responsibility of parenthood approaching I made my case to my manager (informally) Now it looks like when I am back from mat leave I'll get the promotion etc but this is by no means guaranteed but I am so glad I bit the bullet and started the conversation now. I will be watching this thread with interest as I am sure there's more useful info to come!!! Good luck OP!!! X

HeCantBeSerious Sun 04-Sep-16 12:51:34

Now it looks like when I am back from mat leave I'll get the promotion etc but this is by no means guaranteed

Rings alarm bells.

MalcolmTuckersEyebrows Sun 04-Sep-16 13:18:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HeCantBeSerious Sun 04-Sep-16 13:23:05

It goes beyond that. If she asks to go back on different terms (ie part time) then any promise is forfeited anyway. If she's been doing the job then the promotion and pay should be done before mat leave and backdated!

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