I work as a software dev at a small marketing company in the Netherlands. I have been working here for 5 years and really enjoy my job. We are going to hire a new software dev, an old intern that has been working here next to the school for the last 2 years. I will manage his projects and review his work.

This intern is also a friend of mine outside of work. When we were at a party together he was excited about the full-time job offer. And while we talked about it he mentioned what his pay was going to be. Which is exactly the same as mine.

This was some weeks ago. But it is bothering me a bit. Not that I want more salary per se. But that the interns 2 years of part-time experience are apparently worth the same as my 5 years of full-time experience.

While my manager did mention he put in a high offer for the intern to stay, because he does do a very good job, he did not call an actual amount. So I don't think I should know that the salary is the same.

Is there any way I could take this up with my manager? Can I mention anything about the interns pay?

Another issue is that about 4 months ago I got a significant raise (about 20%). But only after showing certain skills and achieving certain goals. But the new colleague is offered the same amount directly. So that makes me feel underappreciated for my achievements. Because the "reward" so to say is given freely to new people.


I had a meeting with my manager. In this meeting I brought up the fact that he did mention the fact he put up a high offer, and said I assumed that it would be the same as my current salary. My manager then confirmed that it was the same. He gave an explanation for the high start, the (currently still) intern is good at his job and my manager wanted to make sure he would come working with us. But he also understands that it would make me feel less appreciated. So we are currently looking for ways to improve that.

Thanks everyone for the replies.

  • @gnat the question you linked is sort of similar. But there is now answer on how to handle the fact that I know the interns pay. Apr 25, 2019 at 8:20
  • I would have answered, but given that my last answer on the same premise is not liked by the community, I'd refrain. :) Apr 25, 2019 at 8:35
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    @gnasher729 I wasn't trying to be disrespectful. Just having a hard time to make clear who I'm talking about without giving names. Apr 25, 2019 at 8:59
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    @Fattie They're not an intern anymore. They're a full-time permanent employee that used to be an intern. Apr 25, 2019 at 15:37
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    Could you provide some additional information about the types of raises you have received? You mentioned 20% four months ago - is that the only raise in the five years, or have you received multiple raises, the most recent of which was 20%?
    – Rob P.
    Apr 25, 2019 at 15:37

6 Answers 6


Since you say you don't want more salary yourself I'll start by addressing the question at the end of your post.

Can I mention anything about the interns pay?

Treat your knowledge of your colleague's salary the same way you would treat any other confidential knowledge: don't disclose it and don't discuss that you know it. That information belongs to your colleague. It's not yours to share.

But it is bothering me a bit. Not that I want more salary per se. But that the interns 2 years of part time experience are apparently worth the same as my 5 years of full time experience.

It sounds like you feel that your five years of experience should be worth more than your new colleague's two years (which in my opinion is fair enough).

I'd suggest you challenge your thinking around this: instead of thinking they should earn less because you're satisfied with what you earn, start thinking that you deserve more: you're worth more than you were 5 years ago. You can manage projects and review other people's work now. There are other questions on the site about how to approach a situation where you feel underpaid.

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    Please note that salary is personal and not confidential information. I could share my salary with whoever I want and it's illegal for the company to punish me for doing so. Apr 25, 2019 at 12:55
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    This is precisely correct. OP, you must - must - drastically increase your salary in the immediate term.
    – Fattie
    Apr 25, 2019 at 13:17
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    The thing with asking for a raise is that I just received a significant (20%) raise 4 months ago. Which felt like a lot of appreciation. But a new employee gets it when they start. Effectively canceling out the feeling of appreciation. Apr 25, 2019 at 13:43
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    @PatrickNijhuis that sounds really frustrating. Have you investigated the salaries for someone with your level of experience in the area you live?
    – Player One
    Apr 25, 2019 at 13:51
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    @PatrickNijhuis Consider sending CV and going to interviews. Not necessarily to get a new job, but to see what is your actual worth on the job market. And who knows, maybe you'll get an amazing offer you will want to take?
    – Mołot
    Apr 25, 2019 at 14:17

Salary levels for new hires increase with time, while your existing salary does not, until you get a raise - but that is completely unrelated to the intern's salary offer. If you received an offer of 3000 five years ago, you might receive 3500 with the same CV and experience today.

It doesn't make sense, but that's how it is in reality. Which is why many people change jobs fairly regularly nowadays. It is purely to keep your own salary at market level. Even with regular average raises, you would likely fall behind market levels.

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    Which is why it pays to regularly "test the market", polish up your cv and talk to a recruiter. Every 6-12 months. If nothing else to ensure you're getting what the market pays. If you're far below... get another job offer. Then at least you have a second offer or a bargaining chip to get another raise at present employer. Good luck OP! Apr 25, 2019 at 12:59
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    @vikingsteve this - so much this, especially in software. I spent 4 years at the first place I worked, my salary went up by about 8%. Over the next 5 years I changed jobs three times, and I'm now paid twice what I had been making.
    – David Rice
    Apr 25, 2019 at 18:37
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    Not to boast, but I got a 30% payrise by changing jobs last year. This was after "fighting" for 2.5% payrise the year before. Even though they can be annoying, it's worth to talk to a recruiter every now and again. Apr 25, 2019 at 22:02
  • @vikingsteve Sounds about the same for me. I've doubled my salary in 8 years - well, technically 3 years, since my salary was the same for the first 4 years. +8% after a promotion 4 years into my first job, then +36 % in my first job change, +7 % from the second (learning a new stack), +6 % from a raise, and finally +23 % from the latest job change. So the majority came in a timespan of 3 years. Apr 26, 2019 at 8:45
  • The trend of companies not paying people what their worth is so toxic for the industry. People shouldn't have to scrape and beg to get a raise. A company should just give the raise. This is why our industry has no discipline, because companies live in a fiction where they can cap salaries and think they can retain people and when quotes get busted over and over on an old product and they're scratching their heads and saying "I wonder why this feature is taking so long, the team has 6 months experience!". High turnover is terrible for product delivery. Apr 30, 2019 at 16:25

This is normal. New hires wouldn't work if it wasn't. You're not paid based on experience. You're paid based on how much you'll stay at work for. If you want to earn more money, you'll have to job hop. That's pretty standard too.

Should you mention the interns salary? Yes. 100% bring it up. Glass door exists so it's not like you don't know how much people in your company are being paid. If your boss, or whoever is in charge of your salary, thinks that you won't leave or, if they think they can easily replace you, or if there isn't money they won't give you a raise. That's how salary works.

So here's what you do about it. You clearly communicate that it's going to take more money to get you to stay. What this does is let who ever is in charge of your salary know that you aren't complacent.

Whoever the person who is in charge of your salary is, your salaryman, will have essentially 3 decisions to make. The first decision is weather or not to believe you. Statistically speaking, in most fields you won't leave. It's likely that you're just putting up a front for more money. So this leads to two places. The first is just not to believe you and play chicken with your salary. If your salaryman is right, you'll stay put, keep making noise, eventually fizzle out, and choose to work for what is essentially your current price.

Your salaryman can also choose to believe you. This leads to the other two decisions. The first one of these decisions, the second decision overall, is weather you're worth more money. The fact is that if you didn't make your company more money than you cost, you wouldn't be hired. That's fairly difficult to actually measure, so most of the time that point just boils down to your company thinking you make them more than you cost. This guessing game is essentially why reputation matters. If companies think you make them a mountain's weight in money, they'll pay you a maybe 40 metric tons of cash. If the your salaryman doesn't think you're worth the extra money, then he'll play chicken with your salary again. Similarly, if the salaryman thinks he can replace you easily when you quit, he won't care if you walk. In this situation, the only way for you to get a raise is charity; you're probably not getting a raise.

If your salaryman does think you're worth the money, then there's one more decision to make. Can the company afford to pay this employee more? Sometimes the answer is no and the salaryman has no choice but to play chicken with your salary and just hope you won't move on. Often it's yes. This is one of the points at which you get a raise.

The other way you get a raise is by winning the game of chicken; convince your company you're going to leave in such a way that they believe you and are motivated to make sure you stay, without actually leaving.

Kind of a rip off if you ask me.

  • The first part of this answer is incongruous with the second. You are correct that you're paid whatever you'll stay at work for, but that has nothing to do with what other people will stay at work for. The intern's salary might be a signal that the OP is being underpaid, but it's not a compelling reason for management to give the OP a raise. Apr 25, 2019 at 17:08
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    @NuclearWang I'll edit and add more detail. The short of it is, that if OP wants more money, then OP will have to effectively communicate that their current salary is not enough for them to stay at their current company.
    – user53651
    Apr 25, 2019 at 17:30
  • @NuclearWang I added those edits. Hopefully this sheds some light on the matter
    – user53651
    Apr 25, 2019 at 21:32

Employers want employees with skills. Experience is a proxy for skills, not a something that's valuable in and of itself. Apparently, your employer is satisfied that the new hire has the skills to provide the same value that you do, and has had the opportunity to directly evaluate his skills, rather than use proxies such as experience. It's up to your employer, not you, to decide how much value each employee is bringing. If you're both in similar roles providing similar work, they may see little reason to pay you more simply because you have more experience, just as they may see little reason to pay someone more simply because they have a master's and the other employees only have a bachelor's.

  • It does sound like the OP is going to be in a senior position over the former intern. Apr 25, 2019 at 18:57

I agree with most of the answers here, since they all could be correct - depending on the exact context.

However, a slightly different perspective to consider is that this new hire may be atypical - s/he may be above average - and that you can't directly compare this person's salary to either your salary or the average new hire's.

  1. "Years of experience" may not be worth as much as you think. As another answer mentions, years of experience is often just a proxy for skill. In Code Complete, Steve McConnell explicitly addresses this in a section Characteristics That Don't Matter As Much As You Might Think :

    The bottom line on experience is this: if you work for 10 years, do you get 10 years of experience or do you get 1 year of experience 10 times?

    The same experience repeated 10x may not be as valuable as 10x as much experience and the corresponding skills.

    Professional athletes, movie stars, et cetera are not paid based on their years of experience. Likewise, software development isn't really about years of experience, but skills and knowledge. And skills and knowledge don't necessarily correlate to years of experience - to quote McConnell again:

    You have to reflect on your activities to get true experience. If you make learning a continuous commitment, you'll get experience. If you don't, you won't, no matter how many years you have under your belt.

  2. You also state that you feel your achievements are underappreciated despite a recent raise "Because the "reward" so to say is given freely to new people." Was it freely given? Or does this new hire already possess significant skills and thus has earned the reward? It's unclear whether the new hire possesses the skills you were rewarded for, or perhaps has other skills. Also keep in mind that some skills are valued more highly than others - and this new hire may have them.

  3. Finally, is the salary a typical new hire rate (for intern with this experience) or is this person exceptional and thus the starting salary is also an exception? An above average starting programmer getting an above average starting salary wouldn't be unfair.

Just something to consider which may apply in this case, and would certainly apply in some other cases - basically, that this new hire may be an exceptional case and their salary may likewise be an exception.

As others have suggested, a bit of market research - including checking out some other opportunities - may help you find out what typical starting salaries are, and also what salary your skills and experience can command. Perhaps you'll learn you're undervalued, or you may find your salary is average or better than average.

Edit: I note that while typing this, @Accumulation has also addressed this general theme.

  • hi and welcome to the Workplace. Could you articulate your point? Right now it looks more like several rhetorical questions, but OP might have trouble reading through them Apr 25, 2019 at 18:23
  • Thanks. I reworked things to try to make the point more explicit that years of experience does not necessarily equate to practical experience. There is no way to avoid some rhetorical sounding questions, unfortunately, since we're discussing a new hire in the abstract because we don't actually know the individual new hire and his/her skills at all. Thus, there are several questions for the OP, or future "long term team members", to ask themselves when comparing their value to others.
    – Colin K
    Apr 26, 2019 at 19:45
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    To reinforce this answer. Peopleware, a software management book covers this as well. They noted, that experience didn't correlate directly with productivity. In fact, in many instances, there was no difference in time to complete task. Which was completely counter intuitive! But it turns out, good development, is more than just being able to put code to file. It's a lot more than that. Apr 30, 2019 at 16:29

Just say them you've got an offer twice your current salary. Eve if they raised yours recently, this makes you feel like you are seriously underpaid. They know they can pay it to you and they won't want to lose you over that. You'll get it.

UPD: The reasoning behind this advice is that if they are so eager to hire and overpay new employee without any actual experience on the job, with months ahead to fill, with no actual achievements, they have to be crazy to not try to at least bargain. What they doing with OP is a very regular thing actually. They negging him because he falls for it and allows them to pay less - so they do save a lot of money, while actually having the resources to give him a decent pay.

For them it's not even about money, they just feel they will look weak if they give you a raise without a reason. So they making shit up, like you have to show and achieve, to milk you for the value. Some stuff they learn at the management classes. To them, we are units, you can rarely expect humane treatment until you yourself understand that you deserve it.

Some people say you can get fired over this bluff. I give it zero chance, but think of this. You are already unhappy. You are already being treated unfairly, and every day you work there you will feel it, think about it, until you either restore the balance or quit. Learning truth is often unsettling and has consequences. Decide how you want to handle the situation because otherwise it's you who being handled.

Even if you lose your job (which can only happen either if you quit or allow your temper to get the better of you), you can always find a better one, where you will be at better position with all the experience behind your back, and can actually get better offer.

If you are strongly against the bluff, just get an offer for real. Update your LinkedIn and go to the couple of the interviews. See what options you have for the worst case scenario. I'm sure you'll be surprised.

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    This is a risky tactic if they call your bluff. Apr 25, 2019 at 15:09
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    hi Ashton and welcome to Workplace. In general, this community advise not to lie intentionally. Also "they won't want to lose you over that" is an assumption. Could you expand your answer to help OP hedge their bet? basically, give advice how no to get fired if they follow your suggestion Apr 25, 2019 at 16:50
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    Terrible advice. The company is very likely to say 'great, enjoy your new job'.
    – 17 of 26
    Apr 25, 2019 at 17:05
  • If company easily says that to the lead they are going down pretty soon anyway. Apr 25, 2019 at 20:18

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