‘Hawaii 5-0’ stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park quit the CBS show because of unequal pay. You can confront your boss too if you find out your cube-mate is making more.
Know your worth, and then ask for it.
That’s what veteran “Hawaii Five-0” stars Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park did when it came time to negotiate their contracts after finding out their co-stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan reportedly got paid 10 to 15% more, according to Variety.
But when the network giant wouldn’t budge, they said aloha to the seventh season — goodbye, that is.
“Though I made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue,” Kim wrote in a note posted on Facebook over the summer.
The 48-year-old South Korean-born actor — who has portrayed the cop Chin Ho Kelly for seven seasons on the tropical crime drama since 2010 — made a not-so-subtle reference to his battle over fair pay.
“The path to equality is rarely easy,” he wrote. “But I hope you can be excited for the future. I am.”
And career experts agree that if you’re getting paid less than a colleague at your rank, it’s time to confront the compensation inequality.
“It can be degrading when you find out your co-worker is doing the same job and getting paid more,” Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster.com, tells Moneyish. “The goal is to get paid what you’re worth.”
Kim and Park are hardly the first stars to address pay inequality. Actress Jennifer Lawrence publicly addressed her frustration with the gender wage gap in Hollywood in 2015 when she found out her male co-stars Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale were getting paid more than her for “American Hustle.”
But instead of blaming the movie studio, she blamed herself for failing to push for more money at the get-go. “I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early,” she wrote in an essay for Lena Dunham’s newsletter, “Lenny.”
Like Lawrence learned, it’s important not to settle early on. CareerBuilder, the largest online job site, found that a whopping 49% of job candidates never even try to negotiate initial job offers.
Here’s what to do when you find out your co-worker is getting paid more than you in the same job position:
1. Don’t blame your co-worker. Sure, it’s natural to be upset, and even angry, but if you confront your cube-mate, it may cause negative consequences in the long run. “You shouldn’t be mad at them,” says Salemi. “Look at your own situation and use this new information as fuel to ask for a raise.”
While your initial instinct might be to ask a co-worker how they’re making more money, don’t. Getting emotional could only hurt you professionally if you continue working on the same team as them. It’s best not to say anything, Salemi suggests.
2. Do your research. Find the fair market value for your job based on location, experience, education and level. Sites like Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, and PayScale can help.“Really examine your own worth. How much are you really underpaid? Speak to a former boss or mentor outside the company,” suggests Salemi.
That means asking yourself if a colleague is more qualified. Do they have another degree, direct competitor experience or a specific skill set? If you’re both in the same rank, it’s fair to confront the situation.
Before moving forward, make sure you can prove your value to the company with a track record of success.
3. Talk to your boss. Once you know how much you should be making, schedule a time to meet with your boss to ask for a raise without demanding one. “Don’t say it like a threat,” urges Salemi. “Approach it in a conversational not confrontational way. You can say something pretty bold like ‘I know that other co-workers are getting paid more and we’re doing the same job’ and allow your boss to give an explanation.”
If your boss asks you how you know your co-worker’s salary, do not mention the person by name if possible. Instead, say something like “It was brought to my attention that the market value for my position is X.” Focus the conversation on yourself and the value you bring to the company.
And if your boss tells you your co-worker has more experience, or a specific skill set, you could volunteer to take on a more challenging task or project to prove that a raise is well-deserved.
4. Set a deadline. If your boss promises higher compensation and does not follow through, or if the company cannot offer you more money, it’s time to start setting up job alerts for other opportunities. “You need to know your goal is getting paid for what you’re worth,” says Salemi.
5. Make a decision. Realistically, you may not see a dramatic increase in your salary unless you get a promotion. If you’re unable to get a raise, negotiate other forms of compensation, like a one-time bonus, an extra week of paid vacation, or some work from home days.
And, “if your employer doesn’t value you the answer is simple: find one who does,” says Salemi.
This article was originally published on July 6, 2017.
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