Talking to Your Boss if Someone Less Qualified Makes More
Publication: Business Insider
Author: Emeka Ochiagha

A new hire on your team makes substantially more than you. Here’s how to make sure you’re paid fairly.

  • The Great Resignation has caused an unprecedented demand for workers and has raised hiring offers.
  • If employees learn they make less than new hires who perform similar jobs, it can breed resentment.
  • Career experts advise employees on the steps they can take to ensure they’re paid fairly.

A new hire joins your team. You’re excited to have them. Both of you are charged with similar work. They happen to be younger than you, with less experience, but you’re confident they’ll be a great addition to the team.

Then you begin to hear rumors that give you pause: The new hire makes substantially more than you. Now what?

The Great Resignation has caused an unprecedented demand for workers, and companies are raising salaries to attract talent. While the shuffling of workers may be a boon for job seekers, who are looking for richer opportunities, it also risks creating imbalances between new hires and existing staff. Career experts say any stagnancy in pay for the loyal workers can cause feelings of betrayal and anger.

But if you find yourself in such a position, the first step, experts say, is to do nothing.

“Take a deep breath,” said Raisa Ramos, a human-resources consultant and career coach. “While conversations about salary can be uncomfortable, ultimately, this is about renegotiating your value, similarly to how you once did when you first met your employer.”

As the negative feelings subside, career experts recommend taking careful next steps to reach your true market value.

Schedule a meeting with your boss

Communicating your discontent with management is vital for any change to occur. When you ask your boss for a meeting, make sure you give yourself time to prepare. The goal is to prove you’re worthy of a raise.

Ramos advises being explicit with your manager about the meeting’s purpose. This allows them to prepare for the meeting as well.

“Do your homework and research comparable salaries,” she said. “Some salary information may not be reflective of your industry or area, but it can provide a starting point. Most importantly, make the conversation about you, not the other employee.”

Showcasing your performance and the goals you exceeded is the best way to demonstrate your worth. After establishing what you’ve done, speak to what you’ll do in the future, Ramos said. Talk about ambitious goals you have for yourself at the company. Elaborate on your vision to help the organization grow.

Despite your best efforts, it’s still possible that your manager can’t offer you a raise, or at least one to the level you’d feel satisfied with. If your intention is to stay with the company, negotiate increased paid time off or an accelerated route to a promotion, Ramos suggested.

“Remember this is a negotiation,” she said. “There will likely be pushback, and that’s okay! Continue to keep the tone professional, respectful, and positive.”

Jamie B. Gelbtuch, the founder of the consulting firm Cultural Mixology, believes such conversations are beneficial regardless of the outcome.

“Going through this process will give you important data about how the organization manages compensation,” Gelbtuch said. “With that information, you can make an informed decision about whether to stay or search for an opportunity where you feel more fairly valued.”

Begin to look elsewhere

If your company is truly unable to meet your market value, Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster, advises jumping ship.

Salemi said the distraction and discontent you feel will make it hard to keep working at your same level of performance if you don’t feel appreciated.

And if you have more experience than your coworker, chances are you’re probably more valuable in the job market than they are. With such a hot job market, there is a greater chance you can find an opportunity worthy enough for you to leave your company.

If your employer is paying someone new with less experience significantly more money, she said, “that sends a message that you’re not appreciated, recognized, and most importantly, valued.”