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New colleague coming in on 20k more than me - help with tactics

(46 Posts)
CheshireSplat Wed 11-Jan-17 22:30:48


I'm sorry, this is long, but I wanted to set all the information out.

I'm after some advice because I'm not used to negotiating pay. I work in a private limited company, so there are no hard and fast rules on pay or pay bandings.

My boss has made a new appointment which just happens to be a mate of his (they've been friends for 15-20 years, used to work together).

This guy is much more qualified than the role requires (my opinion!).

He will be doing slightly different type of work to me (we're lawyers specialising in different specialisms, though not wildly different) but when he doesn't have enough work in his specialism, which will happen quite a lot, he'll be doing the same type of work as me. He's 4 years more qualified than me, but with very little experience in my specialism.

He will be working on his own. I am generally in charge of a team of 3, with 2 direct reports. From a company perspective it's really hard to get to my band without managing anyone. He'll be on the same band as me.

I found out that he is going to be starting on £18K a year more than me. That's about 30% more. I think he's being overpaid. However, given my experience and my management responsibilities I think I should be earning more than him.

So what do I do?

I can't tell my boss I know what he'll be earning. i shouldn't know.

My plan is:

1. Have a sit down with my boss before he starts about team structures, line of reporting etc. Then say "you won't be surprised but I'm interested to know how his package compares to mine". If he let's on that he's on more than me, I then need to take action as I feel it's completely unfair that he'll be earning this much more than me.

Does anyone have any advice about how to run this pay negotiation? I need to stay rational and reasoned and not emotional. i need to remember that he's been appointed and my boss obviously thinks it's the right decision, so I can't criticise the appointment. I need to set out all the things I do. Also, my boss's boss (FD) has authorised the appointment.

Help! Where do I go from here?

I'm really pissed off about this - I think he'll nick the best work from me and another colleague. I think he'll be viewed as second in command by the rest of the company. Having our boss's mate amongst us will change the dynamics of the team. However, that's a different issue to the pay issue - this is just something I'll have to deal with.

Any advice would be really helpful. Thanks. (And thanks for bearing with me through this mammoth post!)

HamletsSister Wed 11-Jan-17 22:34:22

I know nothing about the law, or employment law really, but this makes me blood boil.

Can you prove discrimination on the grounds of sex? Age?

WorldsSmallestPatio Wed 11-Jan-17 22:48:30

I've no idea about any of it but 4 years more qualified in my profession usually means a 10-25 k difference.

I think you need to focus on what you do more than him i.e. The line management responsibilities. They may have a plan for him that you're not aware of, start his own team/hire more staff/ re jig your team. So be aware they might be planning something.

Apart from discrimination they're entitled to pay what it costs to recruit and retain someone. They're allowed to pay him more than you.

Have you compared your salary to the industry? If it's low (and it's not that his is just overpaid) then asking for more makes sense.

If he's just overpaid they're entitled to do it (annoyingly!) flowers

CheshireSplat Wed 11-Jan-17 23:08:29

Thanks both. Hamlets unfortunately, I think it's discrimination on the grounds of being a mate....

Patio, thanks. I think my salary is fair to be honest. I just know I will resent this difference. I agree, they are entitled to pay what it costs to recruit and retain. So I need to use this in my favour and hope they want to retain me :-)

I don't think they have any other plans. There won't be enough to keep him busy without him poaching my work. But it was a really useful thing for me to hear - I am likely to blunder in with size nines, so I need to be careful....

Thissameearth Wed 11-Jan-17 23:42:53

Hi OP, I'm a lawyer too. Your plan is to tell your boss you're keen to know his friend's salary and you're relying on him telling you. Is it not likely your boss will decline to disclose and be pissed off you asked? I think that there should ideally be a statutory req to disclose of salaries for transparency to prevent exactly this type of situation - but in the absence of that type of protection, i'd be wary of what you're proposing. I would probably ask for a meeting to discuss your salary and not mention your boss's pal directly but focus on your work and state other factors are important such as how your pay compares with others on a similar level in your company and in the industry more widely. Or ultimately, if you feel they're taking the piss and don't value you, look for new job?

CheshireSplat Thu 12-Jan-17 00:27:26

Hi earth . Thanks for the reply. Yes, that's my plan. I'm not expecting him to tell me exactly. I'm interested in what he'll say. If he lies then I know long-term it's not somewhere I want to stay because it will confirm I'll always be second to his mate.

Tbh, I think he should be a little uncomfortable. It sucks. When I was in private practice a partner I was friendly with found out he was on about £30k less than someone in a similar role because he's never changed firms. I don't want to be the hard-working sucker being screwed because I'm loyal and dependable. So I'm thinking about taking this risk.

As I said in a pp, I do think I'm fairly paid. But if someone who can't do half of what I can do comes in on 18k more, I'm suddenly not so well paid.

I'd prefer not to leave - i love this job! But you can see how it isn't fair. It'll eat away at me until I don't love the job.

Now, of course, if my boss says the new guy's pay is similar to mine then I'm screwed!

KimmySchmidtsFakeXmasSmile Thu 12-Jan-17 00:40:27

How did you find out about the 18k !?

daisychain01 Thu 12-Jan-17 03:37:08

How do you know so much about his mate's background and salary?

My only advice is you need to be careful you have your facts correct before you try raising the matter with your boss. Especially as he could get defensive about employing his mate and paying him what seems to be an awful lot of money to cover a business area that won't even keep him busy, such that he'll be treading on your toes!

CheshireSplat Thu 12-Jan-17 08:06:41

Kimmy I'd rather not say.

Daisy because he's been in for lunch a couple of times now to see what he thinks of us and the company. I've spent about 2 1/2 hours with the mate.

Neither of them know I know the salary. And it has to stay that way. That's why I have to ask my boss how I compare!

Daisy good point about him being defensive. It is a farce and has a knock on down my whole team which I'm there to develop and train people to do more complex work which now they probably won't have the opportunity to do. I need to be careful how I address that but that is a different issue to the pay one.

daisychain01 Thu 12-Jan-17 10:21:13

Sounds complex and frustrating for you, having to pick through all that complexity. IME if the boss isn't onside, or if they have a separate agenda, not matter what they've tasked you to do re building your team, you may find over time you'll be sabotaged. This sounds likely if the mate starts sticking his oar in, taking away development opportunities from your team, sucking away and cherry-picky the meaty interesting work ( with the boss's backing).

I think your salary discrepancy is only one piece of a much larger problem. Sorry if that sounds negative....

daisychain01 Thu 12-Jan-17 10:22:26

Cherry-picking that should say!

daisychain01 Thu 12-Jan-17 10:27:39

If you have as little trust in the boss as I think you do, asking him the question re salary levels will be a fob off and likely a distortion of the truth, plus, yes, he could resent you asking and bear a grudge ....

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Thu 12-Jan-17 10:33:34

i think you need to start looking for another job and see what is out there, if you are being underpaid then you get all the chips on your side and give them the facts, if they then don't want to pay more to keep you then off you trot
Doing it your way ...there is no way your boss is going to admit his chum's salary to you, so you will get cross, feel undervalued and they will know you are not going to settle, so they will expect you to walk...leading to Bosschum being given your role with the small team

If they are paying him over the odds then he is presumably going to have to "earn" it...they may just start swiping more responsibility for him to justify that, or he may be being lined up "for greater things" ie YOUR job.

Either way he gets your job on a plate, it remains to be seen if you are there to observe or not.

daisychain01 Thu 12-Jan-17 10:36:58

On reflection, in your situation I'd be inclined to follow the maxim of "keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer".

In other words, I'd put aside any preconceived ideas and resentment, very difficult I know, and do your best to cultivate a productive rapport with "matey" for the coming months. Do everything you can to be the good citizen, see what his mindset is like.

What's the worse that can happen? That the fears you have come true. However you won't know if he's going to shaft you and take away business, until he's been put to the test. If you act too defensive you will look the bad person, right?

If after some months the situation looks doomed, start thinking about your position. You could go to a tribunal on the basis of sex descrimination but that's a long and costly business and you need lots of evidence.

SweetGrapes Thu 12-Jan-17 11:05:12

Won't your boss just say that salary is confidential and not discuss any one else's salary with you?
Unless there is a transparency rule, it would be highly unprofessional to discuss anyone's else's salary with you.

SweetGrapes Thu 12-Jan-17 11:06:14

But by all means have a discussion on your own salary and ssk for raise.

FuckYouDailyFail Thu 12-Jan-17 11:24:35

I feel for you.

I found out that my 4 years more qualified colleague was on £40,000 more than me. Yes - he earned £65k versus my £25k.

Best bit was I supervised half of his work because he couldn't do it hmm

Funnily enough, I quit, and found a better paid job....

FuckYouDailyFail Thu 12-Jan-17 11:25:10

Incidentally - it's unlawful to prevent pay discussions for the purpose of assessing equal pay based on gender. I'd use that angle.

specialsubject Thu 12-Jan-17 11:28:09


if your boss is already paying his mate lots more for less work, it won't improve. The mate can play candy crush all day and nothing will happen.

be grateful they aren't having sex, because then it gets really impossible as you pick up the pieces from someone who doesn't need to give a toss.

sorry, but that's how it is. Also if the boss is overpaying like this I'd question the company finances as someone is clearly been a bit daft.

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 12-Jan-17 11:51:41

There is an issue that has not yet been addressed yet. You mention that 'mate' will be working in a certain specialism but topping up with the same type of work as you.

As well as the extra 4 years PQE which (at my firm would be brtween £5-8k per year in any event) it is possible that mate has been brought in to introduce/build up this specialism within the firm if the firm is currently not equipped to provide that service. He msy have been brought in to build a team. His target may be considerably higher than yours too.

If mate has not told you what his salary is how have you managed to ascertain this? Do you know his target of chargeable hours/business development hours etc. Best to have all info to hand before challenging another person's worth with the boss in case you are left with egg on your face. It may be more appropriate to discuss at your next review when you can see how mate is performing etc to compare with your chargeable hours/wip/billings.

GinnyWreckin Thu 12-Jan-17 11:59:46

I think you know you have to move, or threaten to move OP.

This is a private firm and there are no hard and fast rules about who's paid what, and you know that.

Also this new hire is a mate of the boss. What did you really expect?
He can hire and pay whatever he likes.

You've fallen into the role of the 'old reliable' who will put up with any old shit in this situation I'm afraid.

You need to take a negotiation course.

And I think you need to shift jobs and get a recruiter to find you a job you feel compensates adequately you for your knowledge and experience. Sorry.

CotswoldStrife Thu 12-Jan-17 12:11:07

Do not ask the boss about the compensation package of the newbie. He's never going to say 'he's getting a shedload more than you' and then you are left with nowhere to go negotiation-wise.

You've obviously got this information in a way that you shouldn't have, and this is the risk you take when you do that.

Optimist1 Thu 12-Jan-17 12:44:14

IMO no boss is going to grossly overpay someone purely because they play golf together or whatever. The implication is that the new chap is going to earn his keep; only time will tell whether this prediction is fulfilled. So my advice would be as some PPs - keep quiet about it and keep an eye on the going rate for the role you currently hold.

HelenDenver Thu 12-Jan-17 12:49:35

Agree with the rest - focus on whether your salary is right for your role.

If he has 4 years more experience and may end up with a "second in command" role then the salary may well be justified. You might end up reporting to him whilst your boss focuses more on firm strategy or whatever.

If he wasn't your boss's mate, would you think someone in such a role was overpaid?

HelenDenver Thu 12-Jan-17 12:50:43

Also, is he bringing a client list with him?

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