Make a business case for a salary bump, but don’t direct your resentment at your colleague
Katy Perry’s salary is causing Fireworks.
The “California Gurls” singer nabbed a $25 million payday for her current gig judging “American Idol” and that’s causing some resentment among her talent show colleagues, Page Six reports. According to the New York Post’s gossip section, Perry’s hefty compensation left little for co-judges Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan and may also have cut into the show budget. (Broadcast network ABC has denied that the budget was blown.)
The brouhaha has played out in the public eye as Richie and Bryan reportedly refused their initial offers—which Page Six says was as little as a tenth that of Perry’s.
Still, it’s not unusual to feel undervalued at a company, especially if you figure out that a colleague doing equal or less work is earning significantly more than you are.
That’s why Richie and Bryan are worthy role models in this situation. Despite the taboo around knowing how much your colleagues are paid, you shouldn’t be ashamed to broach the topic of equal compenation with your boss. “You’re not [just] asking for a raise, but for an equal playing field,” says Foram Sheth, careers coach at Ama La Vida. “It’s because you feel undervalued.”
Indeed, though information regarding your co-worker’s compensation is often held under a veil of secrecy, Sheth notes that it’s generally illegal for employers to ban their workers from discussing what they get paid, though it’s probably still risky to do so.
But before having a conversation with your boss, do your research. That could mean combing through Glassdoor and Indeed to see what people of similar experience in your industry get paid, as well as well charting a list of your previous accomplishments and upcoming goals. Then, when you do eventually sit down, make a business case rather than one rooted in your understandable sense of injustice.
“You’re not [just] asking for a raise, but for an equal playing field." https://t.co/2OaBFLZ7HU
— Moneyish (@Moneyish) October 6, 2017
“Organizations make their decisions on salary based on business reasons, so don’t just say that it’s inequitable, but point out the value of what you bring,” says management expert Julie Cohen. “Simply saying ‘I want to make more money’ doesn’t tie into what the company is trying to achieve.”
She recommends laying out your skills and experience and crucially, how they benefit your company—then, ask for your salary to be reconsidered. Cohen, who previously worked in human resources, also notes that one shouldn’t be too disappointed if the company initially turns down requests for raises, since firms often have a timeframe against which they re-evaluate salary. “If they say there’s nothing they can do, ask for it to be reconsidered at your next evaluation, where you have greater equity,” she says.
It’s very human to feel upset if a colleague is making more, but experts say you should refrain from directing your ire at the person with a bigger paycheck. “Just put yourself in that person’s shoes,” says Cohen. “When you’re looking for a new job, the goal is to get as much salary as you can. Your animosity is focused on the wrong person if they did a good job in negotiating and got better raises.”
Also keep in mind that if you’ve stayed at a similar enterprise for a lengthy period of time engaging in the same hustle, it’s not unheard of for new hires to be paid more. “You have to take into consideration inflation in pay and lifestyle costs,” says Sheth. “It’s not their fault or yours that they’re paid more. The frustration lies in the process.”
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