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Offered a more responsible job but no more salary - how do I deal with this?

(24 Posts)
TryingtoBePC Thu 01-May-14 14:18:41

I would really appreciate your advice on how to deal with this situation.

I work for a government agency. I am currently on a temporary contract, but have recently been awarded a permanent position in which I consider a dream job. It's not technically a promotion since it's a different job, but it could be considered as such, and I'm very pleased to have got it.

I applied for the new job through an internal transfer, and as such, our policy states that staff will transfer across on their existing pay grades. This was never formally discussed at interview, but when I was offered the job my new line manager said he believed the job would be Grade 4 on the salary scale. My current post is one grade lower, Grade 3.

When I received the offer letter, it stated that, as our policy states, I would be offered the same pay grade as I am currently on.

The jobs are very different. My current role is as a temporary project officer, whereas my new role is as a specialist advisor. All other staff in the agency who are doing equivalent roles are on Grade 4 or 5 (in fact most are 5). There is considerably more responsibility with my new job, it is absolutely not a Grade 3 post. Furthermore, another member of staff was awarded a similar post at the same time, and she is already on Grade 4, so will likely transfer across on that grade. I will be the only person doing that type of job on a Grade 3. For what it's worth, other people in the organisation have told me I should be fighting for Grade 5, not 4.

Now, as it happens, my current salary is at the top of Grade 3, if I were to transfer to the middle of Grade 4, my salary would be almost equivalent for the first year. But from there on, I would have an annual salary increase until I reached the top of Grade 4. So for the first year, I wouldn't be any worse off. But it's not about the money, it's about the recognition that this job is very different and carries much more responsibility.

There is also, dare I say it, a certain amount of prestige (in my mind at least) associated with being a Grade 4 staff rather than a 3. It carries a certain amount of weight, which I feel I deserve.

I raised it with my new line manager and team leader. She said that she agrees the situation is crap, but that I may just have to suck it up until there is a pay grade review. I may then be entitled to back pay for the time that I will be doing the new job on the lower pay grade. She told me that the organisation have already done this for a member of senior management staff, so they have set themselves a precedent that they ought to adhere to for all staff. But there is no word on when the pay grade review is likely to happen. It could be years.

So my question really is - can they do this? Is this fair? Is there anything I can do about it? I don't really want to kick up a fuss when I'm lucky to have a job at all, and don't want to create a bad impression before I start.

And also, if I do just accept it as it is, what steps should I take to document my increased responsibilities, comparable duties that other colleagues on higher pay scales are doing etc?

Any advice on how to tackle this would be much appreciated

flowery Thu 01-May-14 15:00:31

Don't they decide the grade for the job at the time they authorise recruitment and advertise the job?

Gen35 Thu 01-May-14 15:04:30

Have you formally accepted the offer? I would have gone back to the person stating in the interview that it would be grade 4, although, if it wasn't advertised anywhere at that level or referred to in any other document it will be difficult to prove it wasn't just a case of the interviewer mis-speaking. What did your manager say when you said x said in the interview it would be grade 4?

TryingtoBePC Thu 01-May-14 15:33:51

They didn't advertise the pay grade with the job -as it was an internal position, they have to leave it flexible because of this stupid 'transfer on existing pay grade' rule. So that they can get away with this probably.

I haven't formally accepted the offer, no. But I'm definitely accepting the job. My line manager is away this week, so I'll speak to him next week.

The pay grade hasn't been referred to in any documentation, no. It was just verbal. He said "We envisage this as a Grade 4 post and will be recommending it as such".

I emailed HR as soon as I got the offer letter, stating that I was lead to believe it would be Grade 4, but have heard nothing back. I might email them again to ask when they envisage they will review the pay scales.

The team leader who I spoke to fully understands the situation, but since she is currently applying for her own job under a huge reshuffling, I don't want to hassle her about it. Her advice was really just suck it up for now and fight for an upgrade and backpay when the time comes.

TryingtoBePC Thu 01-May-14 15:34:54

I'm not in any hurry to sign my offer letter, since it has taken a full 6.5 weeks to arrive since I was offered the job!!! They can wait until next week!

The organisation is a shambles.

TryingtoBePC Thu 01-May-14 15:37:57

The ridiculous irony is that we had to advertise my existing post internally under the same rules.

So if someone suitable had come along and was offered the post, but was already on a higher pay grade than I am, then there could conceivably be a situation whereby I am promoted to a better job but paid on a Grade 3 salary, and my replacement could come in to do my job on higher salary than me.

Luckily, no one suitable came forward, so that hasn't happened!

HeeHiles Thu 01-May-14 15:38:02

Don't know much about Public Sector but do you have a Union rep you could get some advise from?

Gen35 Thu 01-May-14 15:43:56

I wouldn't sign the letter yet either and wait for your manager to come back. You did the right thing to email HR, in the worst case you want it formally documented that this is a grade 4 position with g4 responsibilities etc currently being done by you on grade 3 due to your temporary contract. You have the option of having this reflected in your reference if you move on after getting screwed around by a never happening pay review (i.e. making sure your cv is accurately acknowledged). Just possible if your mgr can get it in front of someone senior they can sort it but have the policy to fall back on...

TryingtoBePC Thu 01-May-14 15:44:06

Yes there is a union rep who is aware of the situation, but I'm not a member of the union. I might have a chat with her next week, together with my new line manager.

I just feel a bit undervalued I suppose, as if they think they can just get away with paying me an assistant's salary even though I'll be doing a completely different job.

But then that's probably why they went for internal transfer rather than advertising externally, to keep costs down. And if it had gone externally, my chances of getting the job would have been a lot smaller, since it's a highly competitive field. So I guess I should just be grateful really.

Gen35 Thu 01-May-14 15:46:14

Sorry being done by you at g3 due to the transfer on same grade rule, in case that was garbled. What a nightmare that transfer rule is!

TryingtoBePC Thu 01-May-14 15:46:28

I haven't started the job yet - but is there anything else you can recommend that I should do to document my responsibilities.

e.g. keeping track of any decision making that I am responsible for, high level meetings that I represent the organization at, etc. Can anyone think of anything else?

Gen35 Thu 01-May-14 15:48:51

Tbh you should ask your manager to help you keep track of all g4 responsibilities with you at your regular review sessions, they should want you to get this too, you keep the notes, he reviews and adds any you've not spotted. You should do this at least every month, don't wait til year end and be frantically going through old emails etc.

TryingtoBePC Thu 01-May-14 15:49:52

I understand what you're saying Gen don't worry - my OP is quite confusing!!

I'm reluctant to make too much of a fuss though, because the team leader who I spoke to about it said she was currently doing jobs that our previous director used to do before he left (and wasn't replaced). She said she considered refusing to do them, saying she wasn't paid for those level decisions, but then said she's just doing it and documenting it to make a case for upgrading in the future.

I felt sorry for her, she's applying for her own job and has no idea where she will be in a few months time either, so I can't complain too much.

I have a wonderful permanent post doing something I've always wanted to do. The organisation might be a shambles but I'm still happy!

TryingtoBePC Thu 01-May-14 15:53:03

Gen that's a really good idea, thank you. I will do that

Gen35 Thu 01-May-14 15:55:17

I don't think you have to make a pain of yourself, it's all in the tone and I agree, I've seen this happen a lot too. upbeat and positive about the opportunity, I'm with you, grab the opportunity, if you get what you're doing documented and grow your cv, it'll pay off in some way even if not right now unfortunately. I hope you enjoy the new job!

TryingtoBePC Thu 01-May-14 15:58:52

Thank you Gen it certainly will pay off, it's a great career move for me.

I just felt really deflated, I thought "Ooh here I am finally climbing up the ladder to a G4 post" and felt a real kick in the teeth when I got the letter.

A monthly review as you suggested is a really good positive step. I will do that, and keep a file ready for the pay review if it ever happens...

Then I might get a lovely lump sum back payment, which would be nice!

Gen35 Thu 01-May-14 16:09:56

Completely understandable, I'd be gutted too but they've just found a cost saving loophole they can use for now. If they didn't rate you, they wouldn't have organised the transfer.

aimhigher84 Thu 01-May-14 17:53:29

I've had a similar (not identical) experience in the past and going on that experience, plus others I've seen along the way, I wouldn't accept the role unless I knew the experience/skills I was gaining were transferable i.e. out of the organisation for a promotion elsewhere, enhanced my CV in a verifiable way (remember a lot of organisations only offer "Ms Blogs worked here between X and Y as a Z" these days.

Basically if you intend to remain at your current employer for the medium/long term I wouldn't accept in the circumstances describe, I'd want something committed to in more concrete terms (a review point agreed in writing before acceptance, a firmer idea about what might happen and when; if they can't offer that, I'd expect nothing to happen). You're in a stronger negotiating position than you'll ever be again in this role. Do you really want to accept it knowing you've had a carrot on a stick dangled in front of you without any firm agreements in place?

I guess it depends on how likely vague promises are likely to be met at your organisation (only you will know that detail), but for me, having been burnt, and seeing others burnt in the past (not always company's fault - promises of a hiring manager who left two months later, for example, in my brother's case), no way.

TryingtoBePC Fri 02-May-14 08:43:24

The job will definitely enhance my CV, it's absolutely the right step for me in my career.

I do intend to remain there for the long term, as it's such a great job opportunity. So I think your suggestion aim of asking for a review date agreed in writing is a good one. I might do that.

How likely are vague promises to be met? I think it would be impossible for them not to agree to raise me to G4 when the review happens - but there's no guarantee that a review will happen for a long time. That's the unknown I think.

So I'll ask that question of HR, then accept the job and keep a log of all my responsibilities, and carry out a monthly review with my line manager in case I miss any.

Is there anything else I should be doing?

violetbunny Fri 02-May-14 08:48:45

Does the policy clearly state that it also applies to temporary employees? Perhaps it is worth double checking - you might be able to argue that it only applies to permanent staff who transfer?

TryingtoBePC Fri 02-May-14 08:51:12

That's a very good question violet I will check that.

TeenageMutantNinjaTurtle Fri 02-May-14 08:52:59

At my company it's pretty similar to this. If you change roles internally then you keep the same pay/grade until the next review (and it's never backdated!). Our reviews are always annually but there is no guarantee that your pay/grade will be enhanced. But if you move roles in Jan, you have to wait most of the year for the review in Dec.

It's something we just suck up. If we move roles, it's usually a promotion of sorts, more responsibility or learning new skills so your cv gets enhanced. And you describe this as your dream job... There's only so much fuss is be willing to make if they're sticking to the rules (same grade for transfer etc) and you really want the job...

TryingtoBePC Fri 02-May-14 09:03:06

Yeah you're right Teenage, ultimately I will just have to put up and shut up, I'm certainly not going to risk my job in any way.

If I have to do the job on my current salary then so be it, but I want to make sure I have all the measures in place to make sure I'm ready to fight my case if/when the review happens.

I think it was just a bit of a shock, because while the policy does state that we are transferred on existing pay scales, my new line manager told me that this would not be the case for this job... he was being a bit optimistic I think.

JustPassingThru Fri 02-May-14 19:32:14

You wrote: "I think it would be impossible for them not to agree to raise me to G4 when the review happens".

Ugh. I had your optimism once ... it didn't end well. Line manager practically begged me to take a new job, telling me it was a higher grade, which had been agreed with HR. He was trying to avoid the hassle and delay of formally advertising a position because he wanted me in that post, and he wanted me in it now (yes, my head was THIS size). He thought he was following a tried and tested process but here I am several months down the line with more responsibility etc and my upgrading disappearing over the horizon. Apparently getting upgraded from my present grade using the route he is using is as rare as hen's teeth. Line managers may be supportive and willing but the system can be very inflexible at times.

On the bright side, concentrate on what the job is doing for your personal development. With any luck you will get a better job out of it one way of the other before too long.

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