145

I am a female developer that has been working at a company for two years. Last November I asked for a £3500 pay rise which I believe will put me inline for what I should be paid for my role. I was promised that the pay rise would come in January with the annual pay reviews, it never happened.

I have brought up the issue several times with my boss who keeps saying that it will come soon. Since asking for the pay rise three things have happened:

  1. I have had my contract changed so I am working for the parent company essentially doing the same role with the same boss / team etc. I thought this would be a great time to get my pay rise, instead I only got £1000.
  2. Then I had 'junior' dropped from my title and more responsibilities added to my job.
  3. And finally a junior developer has been hired two months ago who I am training up, who I know is on £1000 more than me. His job advert was sent out offering more money than what I was on, and even if he took the lowest bracket he would be making more than me.

I like doing my job but I am feeling very demotivated with the current situation. I always go above and beyond what is needed of me at work, I keep up with the latest trends and I am always working on up-skilling myself outside of work. I have started to look for new jobs which I don't really want to do but the low pay is forcing my hand, I really need to start saving more money.

Do you think there is anyway I can resolve this situation without having to look for another job? Approaching my boss with "If you don't give me a pay rise I am quitting" seems like it could backfire. Also there is the gender pay gap issue, taking my employer to court would make working there awkward if I were to stay.

I believe this is a gender issue, I am also paid less than my male colleague who is 'on the same level' as me and we do very similar roles. It could be argued that he has been working in the role longer so should be on more money, but when a junior arrives that has less experience and does less work gets paid more than me it just enforces this suspicion.

How can I address this issue properly, when it seems like this is a case of gender bias in determining salary?


Update: Thank-you for all the responses, my original question has been altered many times by other users which has made it more about gender than the fact a junior was getting paid more than me (I only suggested my pay disparity could be because of my gender), either way, the advice has been helpful.

I had a meeting with my boss and asked him about my pay, I decided his response was not encouraging and that day contacted a recruiter which ultimately found me a new job, which pays a lot more than the pay rise I initially asked for and is a much better working environment. Thank-you.

  • 238
    What makes you believe that this is a gender issue? This same situation could easily happen regardless of gender. – Snow Jul 17 '18 at 20:41
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    Also, "job advert specified a salary of £X" does not mean "hire is paid £X". It could be less than £X, it could be more than £X, you don't know. – Philip Kendall Jul 17 '18 at 20:53
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    Do you have written documentation of the pay raise that was promised to you? – jcmack Jul 17 '18 at 23:03
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    Perhaps it's not the fact that he is male, but that you negotiated a lower salary than him in the beginning? – DarkCygnus Jul 18 '18 at 17:58
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    @Snow - Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck to me. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 19 '18 at 13:05

18 Answers 18

234

I'm a female developer with 10 years' experience (despite my name here:)) and unfortunately this is a familiar situation.

I think gnasher729's answer is excellent. There's no reason to assume it's a gender issue, but on the other hand, you are being paid less than a junior you are training, which is simply not acceptable.

The only thing I'd add to gnasher729's answer is some advice on process. I would do the following:

  • Write up the facts, as briefly as you can. I'd start by noting your salary vs the junior that you are training (so clearly you are being paid below market rate), and vs your colleague on the same level. Then say that you have previously raised the pay issue on dates X and Y and nothing has been done (refer to emails or meetings if you can, but it's also fine to say that you had verbal conversations on approximate dates if that's all you can remember).
  • Say that you are making a formal request that the salary for your new role should match your colleague's, or the market rate of £3.5k above your current rate (I would find out which is higher and ask for that!). I would ask for backdated pay, dating from when you started in your new role. I would end by saying that the company has a legal duty to pay men and women equally for the same work, under the Equal Pay Act 1970.
  • Ask for a meeting with your line manager. Go verbally over the points in the letter: if you are nervous, it's fine just to read it out. Ask for a formal response within 14 days. You don't need to threaten to leave, or do anything: just say that you need a response in writing. Smile, be friendly, and simply say that it needs fixing, and you're grateful for their attention. If they ask you about your plans, just say you'll wait for their response then consider your options.
  • Say that you'll also send the request by email to the manager and to your HR department after the meeting, and do so.
  • Wait 14 days. If you don't get a response by then, or if the response is negative, then you need to consider your options.

I have negotiated more than 20 contracts, and it gets easier over time. The key is to be friendly, professional, and treat it as a market negotiation, not a personal issue.

Personally, if I didn't get a prompt and unequivocally positive response, I would leave the company. It's a very strong market for developers out there at the moment.

Following a process like this will make it all more businesslike and less stressful. Good luck!

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Masked Man Jul 18 '18 at 16:16
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    "start by noting your salary vs the junior that you are training" - perhaps it would be better to note your salary compared to the advertised salary range for the posting that junior was hired under. – Woodrow Barlow Jul 19 '18 at 14:14
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    BTW, this is exactly the reason why recruiters don't include salary in ads. The problem is that the shortage of people in IT increases dramatically, therefore every new employee is more expensive. However, that doesn't mean they will increase salary for all employees to match new hires. That would probably kill the company. I don't see as a problem that a new hire has bigger salary but I see as a problem that a promised pay rise did not happen. – Sulthan Jul 22 '18 at 7:11
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    The fact that they're hiring another person and doing so at a higher salary indicates that it's not a budgetary issue (beyond pleasing bean counters, at least). Furthermore, OP's colleague is also making more than her. If they want to avoid allegations of gender discrimination, then it's on them to correct this anomalous pay gap. – Doktor J Jul 23 '18 at 18:36
  • It is important to keep in mind that this might not be a gender issue but a work-related issue. It isn't uncommon for the top/critical employees to have a better salary than the others. When we faced a similar issue than this one (a female employee asking to be put on the same salary than her male colleague), we brought up the fact that the guy worked 44 to 50 hours a week, while se was working 36, and the two were paid the same per hour. She said that it was irrelevant, and demanded equal pay - and was left go as result of that. It isn't always the company the one at fault... – T. Sar Aug 24 '18 at 12:05
146

There is no reason to assume that the pay raise didn't arrive because you are a woman, but there are the facts that (a) you didn't get a pay rise, (b) you make less than a junior that you are training, and (c) you are a woman.

So you go to your boss, you tell him the fact that you were promised a pay rise, you didn't get it and make less than a junior, and your suspicion that this is due to your gender. You said that "If you don't give me a pay rise I am quitting" might be a bad move. That's correct. You word it differently. Ask him if he thinks you are not worth the raise, and ask him why it didn't arrive. Ask whether he thinks you are worth less than your junior colleague. Ask him how much replacing you would cost him. Make it hard for him.

Remember ever reading that women's salaries are lower because women are not as good as negotiating? So forget about being polite. If you think you are embarrasingly impolite, then you are about right.

And remember that you can move to another company, and some mid-level developer will get annoyed about finding out that you, the not-junior-anymore that he's training, make more than he does.

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    If you say "Gimme a payrise or I'll quit", be ready to quit (and have backup plan allready). – Crowley Jul 19 '18 at 8:00
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    @Crowley But OTOH, if you say "pretty please, I'd like a little more", be prepared to be treated as a doormat for the rest of your working life. If the same company just hired a junior at more money, then by definition there is a market where the OP can get a better paid job. You don't have to say "or I quit", but you certainly can use the word "unacceptable" to get their attention, to say clearly that you don't intend to stick around long-term if nothing changes. As a woman, the OP also has the option of the word "discriminatory" which should trigger alarm bells. – Graham Jul 19 '18 at 8:42
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    I once had a company fail to deliver on a promised pay rise. I told the project manager at the next planning session not to count on me being there long term (I was pretty critical to delivery). I then saw a lot of urgent conversations between project manager and other managers. 3 hours later my line manager came over and said "don't worry about the pay rise, we'll get it sorted" and the next day I had my new offer. ... and at no point did I actually threaten to leave..... the point of this story being that there are a lot of ways to apply pressure that stop short of "gimme money or I quit". – Tim B Jul 19 '18 at 12:36
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    @TimB Hm... I would say "I told the project manager at the next planning session not to count on me being there long term" sounds exactly like you're threatening to leave. – David Z Jul 19 '18 at 14:09
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    @DavidZ But I never actually threatened to leave. There was no bluff to call or deadline established. I certainly implied that if the situation wasn't fixed I would leave at some point but that's a much softer approach than marching into a manager's office with a deadline. – Tim B Jul 19 '18 at 16:16
45

I work in the US, but I believe that this generally applies: companies that don't care if they pay a new hire more than current employees are the same kinds of companies where they promise pay raises and don't award them. These companies have little interest in retaining their talent, and you can't stay there very long if you want to be paid fairly.

Stupidly, some companies see that it's personally inconvenient to change jobs and bet on people accepting lower money to not complicate their lives, while not realizing it's far more expensive to the company if they are continuously hiring. (Studies show it's cheaper to overpay people because of time lost hiring, training, etc and the fact that you often overpay to attract people.)

While you're still at this company, I'd push them to keep their word and give you the promised raise, but privately I'd make an exit strategy as you are likely to be constantly in the position of having to raise a stink in order to get paid.

Edit: also, you have much more flexibility to evaluate a law suit based on gender discrimination if you're moving on from the company. Suing the place you work is very messy, as you recognize in the question.

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    Reference to said studies? – JeffC Jul 19 '18 at 16:37
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    @JeffC this is so wifely accepted it's taught in business school textbooks, but here's a primer. tlnt.com/retaining-talent-is-more-cost-effective-than-hiring – dbeer Jul 19 '18 at 16:51
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    I meant for you to add it to your answer. Generally, answers that make claims backed by references are better. – JeffC Jul 19 '18 at 16:53
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    @dbeer Even if you just take the cost of the hiring process itself (agency cost, the time spent talking to agencies, checking CVs doing interviews and so on), that will often pay easily for two or three years of a nice raise. And then take the time until an employee exactly as good as the previous one is up to speed. – gnasher729 Jul 21 '18 at 19:19
22

If you want more money you need to move on.

Any time there is a request for a pay rise there is an implication that you will look for other employment if you don't get it. You don't have to explicitly say so. In your case there has been multiple requests answered with fob-offs and no follow up so you have zero leverage.

You either went about it in the wrong fashion at the outset or they have no interest in paying you more and don't care or don't believe you will leave over it.

I'm not going to discuss the gender stuff, this problem happens to men as well.

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    "not going to discuss the gender stuff" was accomplished, except for the words immediately following where you imply the premise is invalid. Your answer would be better without that sentence. – Seth Battin Jul 20 '18 at 19:38
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    @SethBattin I disagree that Kilisi is implying an invalid premise. This is three questions rolled into one - (1) how do I get the pay rise I was promised, (2) how do I get at least as much as the junior that I'm training, and (3) how do I avoid getting less than a similarly qualified man. Only one of those three questions is anything to do with gender. Kilisi has addressed just one of the three questions; and then explained why. That doesn't mean that he implied the other questions had invalid premises. And yes, the issue of not getting promised pay rises DOES happen to men. Obviously. – Dawood ibn Kareem Jul 20 '18 at 23:04
  • No complaint about the partial answer. Offering obvious extra info doesn't improve the otherwise genderless answer. Obviously. – Seth Battin Jul 20 '18 at 23:31
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    @SethBattin I don't see what the issue is, feel free to downvote if it's bugging you. – Kilisi Jul 21 '18 at 4:36
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    @SethBattin - I have flagged your comments as "too obvious". – Jirka Hanika Jul 22 '18 at 17:09
12

Happiness is a big thing, so the most important question is can you be happy with the current situation or not in the long run?

If so then, just keep your head up and stay positive, don't spread any negative talk or rumors and undermine anything. Stay better than that and keep on trucking.

If not then, I'd just move on as soon as I found a position within another organization. There could be a number of reasons why there is a difference that is not related to gender. As a developer myself, I've seen so many reasons for pay disparity. Anywhere from coding ability to attitude to imagination, it could be anything.

But you've asked multiple times and for one reason or another, they've been unable to match your desired rate. So find a company that will match your needs. Sometimes we have to leave the companies we want to stay at, unfortunate but part of how things work in life.

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    I don't agree with this. Since a raise is clearly justified, it should be possible to get it without upsetting anyone. – gnasher729 Jul 21 '18 at 19:22
12

I'm going to assume this is your first developer role?

As a web developer you are in high demand, there is a staffing shortage worldwide for devs. After just 12 months in the industry you are considerably more valuable.

My advice is to start applying for new jobs.

11

It's been a long time since I've had a decent pay rise. Having a £3,500 would be unheard of in the days of small incremental increases.

Generally speaking, the only way of getting a good raise these days is to move jobs.

It certainly looks from your question that you've been promised a 3.5K increase, but whether this is a promise to give it to you or a promise to look into it is less clear. I'd certainly want that kind of increase put in writing asap (and I'd probably frame it!).

Sadly, the rate of wage increases seems to be slower than the rate of increase for new hires (which is why changing jobs is the more common way of getting rises). You appear to be stuck in this world.

Using the gender pay gap as a reason to force a pay rise might not work if you're being paid the same wage bracket as other male members of your team who have been working there as long or longer than you have. To play that card, you need to be certain that your salary is being artificially held back.

You have the previous promise of the 3.5K increase - you should chase that and try to find out why it hasn't been awarded to you.

  • 11
    "Having a £3,500 would be unheard of in the days of small incremental increases" I got an incremental pay rise just this April which was more than £3.5k. That's just anecdotal, of course, but 'rare' - maybe, 'unheard of' - nope. – Michael Jul 18 '18 at 9:18
  • @Michael I was about to comment something similar. (Could also vary with locale of course, I'm in the UK and have little idea of the norm elsewhere.) – berry120 Jul 18 '18 at 9:48
  • It sounds like OP is 2 years without a raise and that means she's not living in a world of small incremental increases. – Agent_L Jul 20 '18 at 14:08
  • A related point is that sometimes you don't have to actually move jobs, just get another offer and ask your current company to match it. Of course at that point you have to actually be willing to take the other job if your current company can't or won't match the offer. – PurpleVermont Jul 20 '18 at 21:40
9

Your approach should be to assume that there is no discrimination

Now, I know people might say

What? Is this guy crazy?

The answer is yes, but not about this.

If there comes a time that you need to prove discrimination, you have to demonstrate that you've taken every possible remedy towards your present situation. So that means going on an aggressive campaign to increase your salary.

Document everything

That's all the hard work, all the staying late, all the additional responsibilities. so that when you approach your company for a rise, then you'll have an answer to any disinclination they have to give you one.

I stay longer than Bob, have a delivered more than Joe, have brought in more money than Steven, so I believe I am worth significantly more.

This question has some answers on how you should approach this.

WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE THIS APPROACH

Right now, there is a bit of a backlash going on in the corporate world. There has been some abuse of the laws with regards to discrimination, so companies are more cautious to act, as are the courts.

You want to be in a position where you can claim that you have tried all of these methods, and have been dismissed, disregarded and ignored. You will be in a position where you've already destroyed any defense against a discrimination lawsuit.

  • They can't say that you didn't ask, because you did
  • They can't say that other workers have done more, or that they thought they did (willful ignorance) because you've brought it to their attention. So if you do end up having to take action, you can prove that you've exhausted every other venue and preempted any defense that they will have to the contrary.

Another advantage to this approach is it will tell you for sure if someone is holding you back or if they were either ignorant of the situation or thought you were happy in it.

EITHER WAY YOU WIN

Here's why.

If you get what you want without any threats of a lawsuit or claims of discrimination. You get what you want and will be seen as a dedicated worker and will have a good reputation to boot.

If you don't get what you want, you'll have solid things for a resume for your next employer.

If it comes to the point of requiring to file a lawsuit. You will be in a very strong position as you will not be able to be painted as someone who is suit happy or who did not try to resolve the situation on your own. You will come across as someone who tried everything to get ahead and was blocked at every turn. THAT will make you a sympathetic litigant and someone who would be very hard to discredit.

Good luck

  • @jmoreno Literally the body of the answer "If you don't get what you want, you'll have solid things for a resume for your next employer. " – Retired Codger Oct 27 '18 at 15:35
  • @jmoreno feel free to post an answer of your own, your comments are not constructive. – Retired Codger Oct 27 '18 at 20:40
7

Plenty of answers but here are my two cents:

It's not 100% necessary it's gender issue. A male buddy of mine works in an all male office. The recently new hired entry levels make more than him with, while he's having 2-3 years experience in that job. That's more of the company staying competitive with new hires and my buddy not getting proper raise trough the years.

I too (a male) was only getting 1k a year raise + starting off really low. When I quit the job advert for my replacement had a started salary posted at a bit higher than what I was making at that point.

One can make a conclusion that it's better to change jobs every few years to stay on top of the market and be payed accordingly, one can wish to not make this conclusion.

6

This is unlikely to be a gender issue.

I am sure you have heard that companies in general offer unenticing yearly pay raises and have trouble with employee retention. This is because for them if you take a lower raise than you are worth, but stay on then they get to keep you and save money on what they would normally be paying for that position. It sounds nefarious, but is sadly very common. Employment is a battle of the wages that everyone today loses the longer they stay with a company. There are exceptions but this seems to be the norm.

After time your current salary will not keep up with your worth. It is very common for older employees to be paid less than new hires. This is why it is suggested to seek new employment when you want a pay raise in this industry.

5

If I had a penny for every time I was promised or asked for a raise, I would be a rich man. As far as I remember, in my 20 something years in the industry, it only happened twice, and because I was performing stellar work.

I learned over time that you have to play hard ball when negotiating, and when offered less money for a "promise" of a "possible" promotion/raise "in a very short time", you should say no.

Sadly, the firms that are willing to raise your salary, even by one cent, are far and between, and often the only form of getting more raises is moving to another job, and negotiate it well.

Also, from the voice of experience, the best strategy is keeping the head down, moving out without notice, and not accepting counter-offers.

As for promises, and whatever they say about your work, some places resort to manipulation, either praising you, or making promises for the future, or pointing or invent flaws to play with your confidence when you are young. The advice I can give you of the wisdom I gained of the years, is do not pay so much attention to what they say, look more attentively to what they do.

Unfortunately, such is the industry situation, many of us have gone multiples times through your exact situation, and I am afraid you are the one making it a gender issue. It is not.

PS. Over my work history, I had to jump cities several times to be able to progress in my career and get significant raises.

  • 1
    Very good advice, +1. – mathreadler Jul 22 '18 at 19:06
4

The first issue is that you don't know that the junior is getting paid more than you.

You say that the hiring advertisement showed a salary higher than yours, but it is common for dishonest employers to advertise a salary and then:

  1. If they get an applicant who is extremely well qualified, they will offer to pay exactly what they advertised
  2. If they get an applicant who is not well qualified, they will offer to pay him less than what they advertised

Even a "salary range" doesn't mean anything. You said you are training him and he is considered a Junior, so it seems he is not well qualified. Maybe the employer expected more qualified applicants, and he was the best that applied, so they offered him less than what was advertised based on his lack of experience/qualifications. You should at least ask him what his salary is before you jump to conclusions.

You work for the same employer that he does. Is your salary exactly what was advertised?

The second issue is that you say it's a gender issue, and that the reason you know this is because you are a woman and get paid less than someone else who is a man. You are the one being sexist because you are asserting that you should be paid the same as someone else because you have different genders. Why does being a woman entitle you to be paid the same as someone else?

They have their own contract, and you don't give any explanation about why they are getting paid more than you. Did you and he start working there at the same time? And did you start at the same salary? If that's the case, and you received a $1000 raise while he received a larger raise, maybe it's because of difference in achievements over the time since you both started. Or did you just accept the lowest number in the salary range while he negotiated for a higher number? Did he start at a higher salary than you?

You seem to lack all of the relevant information and have jumped to nonsensical conclusions.

In conclusion, I think you may be being paid less than you are worth because of your unwillingness to risk leaving your job for a better one. You are not happy with your salary but are unwilling to tell your boss that if they don't pay you more you will leave and get a job that pays you what you are worth. This is probably because of your personality traits, which is probably because you are a woman. But this is not someone discriminating against you, this is you undervaluing yourself and being happy with a worse job than you are capable of finding.

With the amount of time you have spent at that organization (more than 1 year), you are worth probably +$10000 per year to +$15000 per year what you were worth when you started there. The fact that you are still doing your original duties (no doubt much more competently and efficiently than you could do them a year ago) plus more duties including training other staff, as well as keeping up with new technologies and expanding your abilities outside of work hours, your true value seems like it would be closer to +$15000 of what you were worth when you started.

Finally, you mention pay rises and salary amounts multiple times without specifying the units ($3500, $1000, $1000). Is this per year or per month or what? I just want to point out that even first year university students know how important units are, and if your +$1000 raise was per month then that would be +$12000 per year and closer to what I would expect.

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    "Why does being a woman entitle you to be paid the same as someone else?" She doesn't want to be paid the same as someone else because she is a women. She wants to be paid the same as people making the same contribution regardless of the fact that she is a women. – Ben Mz Jul 18 '18 at 17:01
  • @BenMz: That’s probably why Gimme the 411 is asking all those questions in the following paragraph. – Michael Jul 19 '18 at 5:49
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    Pretty sure that (as they are in the UK), the OP is talking about annual pay rises. There is no way she is going to have asked for a raise of 3500GBP per month; that is £42,000 per year, and somebody who has just had "junior" dropped from their title is unlikely to be earning that much in total. – Martin Bonner Jul 19 '18 at 9:12
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    It's not dishonest to pay less than the advertised amount for an applicant that is not well qualified. It's paying them what they are worth. You talk about "nonsensical conclusions" but you've just assigned a $10-15k increased value (in a year!) to someone who you've never met and have only read a few paragraphs about. OP is talking about a £3500 raise and you're talking about 2-3x that (in the wrong currency). – JeffC Jul 19 '18 at 16:49
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    @NPSF3000 It seems more like she wants to be paid the same as other people regardless of difference in contribution or contract etc, only on the basis that she has a different gender. – user90382 Jul 20 '18 at 14:14
4

Your boss went back on his word, I believe it is inefficient to spend time trying to factually negotiate with such people.

Get an offer for somewhere else with approx 20% more salary, go back to your boss to hand in your notice - at THIS point, it is likely they will offer a raise. If not, new job will be better.

Recommend: StackOverflow jobs

  • Forcing your employer to give you a raise by getting another job offer is not the best solution. It's just going to highlight you as someone that will possibly leave soon and could effect your career there. Also OP may not want to move jobs. – ayrton clark Jul 18 '18 at 14:13
  • This does not work. She can only go to her boss after she has the new contract in hand, and then she can only go to the boss to hand in her resignation. Yup, she may gloat a little bit (not!), but it is then no longer a time for negotiation with her old boss. – AnoE Jul 18 '18 at 15:46
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    Playing hardball with an employer, and giving them an ultimatum, rarely works out. Even if an employee gets the pay raise, using this approach, the employer often seeks to replace said employee the first chance they get. If they are willing to play hardball once, what prevents them from doing it every year, eventually your luck will run out. If you don't mind that risk, take the chance, but keep something in your back pocket. – Donald Jul 18 '18 at 17:03
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    I would add that if OP gets the rise (after following some of paths suggested in other answers) she would feel as she had to beg for it, and wonder what else is being denied just because she isn't constantly asking. This isn't a nice feeling to have, so looking for another job is the correct answer here (and not accepting the rise after giving the notice) – Felipe Pereira Jul 19 '18 at 13:54
4

Your problem is not your boss or your salary but (spoiler alert)you.

Instead of guesstimating the reasons why you are underpaid by a lying boss go get a job elsewhere.

There is this common problem that people want "fix", "justice", "fair", "reasonable"...

This is not how market works. Probabilistically bad companies go out of bussiness, good ones do not. If you care about your career it is up to you to take care of yourself and not waste time trying to fix the world.

Also you should consider that maybe you are not underpaid, comparing developers by duties/titles is very crude, for example Google/FB juniors are paid more than most experienced developers.

So if you want to stay in the same company and argue about raising your current salary you

should

  • list how you performed your job well, preferably specific projects and examples instead of generic BS
  • market rate for similar jobs

and you

should not

  • accuse boss of sexism(even if true this is bad tactics)
  • talk about the salaries of your coworkers(you can do this indirectly as suggested in the should section, but mentioning particular people in your team is bad tactics)
  • Why would it be bad bringing the potential of a gender issue, you do not have to call it sexism or say you boss is sexist, it might just be a bias that have entered unrecognized. Is that always? or in some specific situations in your opinion? – cognacc Jul 19 '18 at 10:34
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    In theory that is how it works. In reality people are really bad at receiving negative feedback. And pissing somebody off at the same time as you are asking for a raise is a bad idea. – NoSenseEtAl Jul 19 '18 at 11:51
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    @cognacc Ultimately, even if it was a gender issue, that's really tangential to the problem at hand - you're not trying to negotiate higher wages for women in general, you're negotiating for higher wages for you. The problem is really simple - you hired a junior for a higher wage than I have as a "higher up". Even if the reason for that was gender bias (and it probably isn't), it doesn't really matter - you just want to be paid competitive salary. If you bring genderism into it, you're inviting comparisons with e.g. other women in the industry. – Luaan Jul 19 '18 at 12:03
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    @cognacc Additionally, it's really hard to raise bias concerns with people. Just imagine coming to your boss and saying "Boss, I'm pretty unhappy with my salary. Is it because I'm 10 cm taller than you and you're feeling intimidated?" When you accuse someone of having a bias, you might be right - but you're definitely showing your own biases (e.g. "I have an experience with male bosses giving lower salary to women and I assume that applies to you as well"). And you're bringing this up... why, exactly? It might be warranted in court, but it doesn't belong in contract negotiations. – Luaan Jul 19 '18 at 12:07
  • There is no need to get personal. OP can ask objective facts from HR and see whether there is a gender pay gap. – Nemo Jul 31 '18 at 18:55
1

Here's the actual answer to your actual question:

Do you think there is anyway I can resolve this situation without having to look for another job?

The answer, as a matter of negotiation science,

is very simply

No.

It's just that simple. You cannot negotiate anything, at all unless you can walk away, unless you have an alternative.

At this time, you have to aggressively get more contract offers.

Only then can you "negotiate".

1

I believe you when you say gender may be a factor here. Lots of people are quick to point other reasons why you may be getting paid less, however the most likely explanation for most of the difference is gender, given we know how systemic the gender pay difference is across most industries and countries (for UK, there is an overall gender pay gap of 18.1%; see also Reuters). On top of this you know the culture of the company.

It's unlikely that anyone is saying "pay her less because she is a women". Instead they are letting their biases influence their judgement. They may be judging that you are less likely to leave or that you will be happier with less money because of the characteristics they associate with women. They may even assume you make less of a contribution to the company. The men and women who have these biases don't know they have them. It is very hard to convince them this is happening if they don't want to believe it.

You should do some research and networking. This is so that when you talk to your managers you are confident that you don't need them as much as they need you.

When you ask for more money don't talk about fairness. Instead talk about what you are worth to the company. Come with lots of facts on how much you contribute to the company. Remind them that the recent hire shows the minimum someone with less to contribute than you is worth to the company.

When you have proven your worth then make do something about it. Ask them "what extra do I need to do to be paid what I am worth." Be wary of vague answers, especially based on character traits. Ask follow up questions to make them be specific on what they as asking for. Also be aware of having to meet a bar others don't. Clarify that what you are being asked is expected of people in your position.

Unfortunately, you are likely not to get what you want. You then need to move to another company where you can get the respect you deserve.

If you leave you have to decide whether to tell them why. In almost all cases I advise not to say anything negative when leaving a company. That is probably the best thing to do. However if you feel you can take the risk of a hit to your reputation then you could tell them you left because you felt less valued as a women. It won't make a difference in the short term but perhaps if we all push back on sexism where we can little actions will accumulate to change over the long term.

  • 4
    "we know how systemic the gender pay difference is" - Do we? The assertion that gender pay differences are systemic is heavily disputed and could lead the OP to make dangerous assumptions when interacting with their employer. Please provides citations that make it clear what you are referring to here. This is probably industry specific. – Gusdor Jul 19 '18 at 9:35
  • @Gusdor ig.ft.com/gender-pay-gap-UK – Ben Mz Jul 19 '18 at 16:18
  • 1
    @BenMz That article is behind a pay wall. – JeffC Jul 19 '18 at 16:51
  • 1
    "we know how systemic the gender pay difference is" - Basically every serious article actually disproves this. You have to exclude facts in order to get the answer you want. – Temporary Jul 20 '18 at 7:03
  • 1
    @JeffC I've added a link to official stats for UK. There are hundreds of articles on the stats for individual companies on Reuters, Bloomberg.com and TheGuardian.com, if you're interested in more sources. – Nemo Jul 31 '18 at 19:01
0

The other answers already tell you what you should do, so I want to add a few strategies how you should talk to your employer to finally get your rise.

  • Don't ask for a rise, ask for an adjustment of salary. A "rise" sounds like something given to you out of benevolence. But in reality your position chanced, your responsibilities changed, you want to adjust your salary to the quality of services you performed.
  • Give them odd numbers. If you ask for £2500, the first "natural" step in negotiation is to bargain you down to £2000 or £1500. If you ask for £2450, your employer will stumble over the number and there is no "natural" step to bargain you down to. It also implies that you have a very specific idea about what your worth is.
  • Assure your employer that you really want to stay in the company, but make it clear that your current salary is a reason for you to look for alternatives. Remind them much you know about your work - after all you are teaching a new employee. Loosing insider know-how can be very costly to companies.
  • Remind them of the fact that they promised you a rise and did not fulfill their promise. Apply to their honor or concience if you think that will persuade them.

Now the big Don'ts you should avoid at all cost:

  • "Give me more money or else..." is more likely to elicit counterpressure, stubbornness and conflicts than gaining you any advantage.
  • Don't make it about your gender or another persons salary. Other answers covered that sufficiently.
  • Don't just resign in order to get more money in a different company. Talk to your employer first.
  • 1
    "Remind them how costly it would be to recruit and train a new employee." That sounds really dangerous. I don't see a way to phrase that in a way which is not a threat (which is the first point under your don'ts). I'm also pretty sure as a company they are well aware of the HR-math, probably more than an employee. – R. Schmitz Jul 18 '18 at 14:48
  • You are assuming middle management who are not (benevolent) psychopaths that only care about their own pay-check at the end of the day, which are more the norm than the exception. – Rui F Ribeiro Jul 24 '18 at 6:40
0

Everything is not as it seems. Some people can contribute lots of value to the company and the reason for having them in a seemingly low "position"/title/role is that they are most productive when they don't have lots of duties stealing their time, dragging them down.

If you "upgrade" the role of those people there is a chance they will become less productive and less motivated.

So your perception that title or role in company and wage should correlate is simply incorrect.


edit

I think this was famously concluded in Dilbert cartoon. It is very often that people get promoted until they reach their first level of incompetence. If pay is always higher with promotion then a company like that will end up having people stuck in their first level of incompetence roles.

protected by Masked Man Jul 18 '18 at 16:14

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