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My company provides government services with rates defined in their GSA Schedule 70 contract.

(For those who aren't familiar, my understanding is that these are pre-agreed upon rates between the contractor and the government for a certain job function.)

I like my job a lot, but I know I am underpaid. In fact, I make about 41% of the GSA Rate for my labor category. My coworker with a similar amount of experience just received a massive raise (after receiving an offer from an outside company) and makes about 58% of his labor category rate.

It's difficult to receive offers in our area because so many contractors are subs to a similar prime.

Is there an effective way to negotiate for a raise in this scenario, without relying solely upon a competing offer? (I'm already looking for external offers, but I've never had a class on salary negotiation.)

  • If your co-worker received a massive raise that took him up to 58% of GSA, what percentage was he making before getting a competing offer? – dbeer Aug 5 '19 at 18:43
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    The GSA rate is meant to be the rate at which a vendor is paid, not the rate at which the vendor's employees are paid. It doesn't typically pay into salary negotiations IME. – dwizum Aug 5 '19 at 20:02
  • @dbeer The original rate was about 41% of GSA. – Ramrod Aug 5 '19 at 20:20
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Negotiating a pay raise because a co-worker got one is never compelling from your employer's perspective. In this case, it sounds like your co-worker was paid similarly to you and got a raise because the company didn't want to lose him. This does not inherently make you underpaid.

However, it is possible to negotiate a raise without getting a competing offer. If your company has a review process, that is often an automatic time for you to make a case about the value you provide the company and why you should be making more money, get a promotion, etc. You do not have to wait until reviews happen.

When I've done this, I've focused on the type of work I do and the amount of work I do. Essentially, this means making a case to your employer that you do an amount of work that is higher than your salary level and or you do kinds of work that are above your salary level. You didn't mention what kind of work you do, but a software example would be if you are paid like a junior developer, but you are doing lots of design, offering input into larger problems, and or owning significant tasks / projects, then you ought to be able to make a case that you should be paid more like a senior developer. If you can demonstrate that you take on the more difficult problems from your team, or that your output goes above and beyond, these are also ways to make a case that you deserve a raise.

Personally, I would try these things before spending a lot of energy looking for a new job if the only thing you really want is more money. I think that employees and employers tend to know that most people can get paid more by jumping around, and I think that if a company values you and is run decently well, then they will respond to these kinds of requests (provided they are anchored in reality / backed by data).

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My company provides government services with rates defined in their GSA Schedule 70 contract. (For those who aren't familiar, my understanding is that these are pre-agreed upon rates between the contractor and the government for a certain job function.)

This is indeed the case.

I like my job a lot, but I know I am underpaid. In fact, I make about 41% of the GSA Rate for my labor category. My coworker with a similar amount of experience just received a massive pay raise (after receiving an offer from an outside company) and makes about 58% of his labor category rate.

Your current labor rate, was not determined by the fact your company is a GSA approved vendor, it was determined by the company.

It's difficult to receive offers in our area because so many contractors are subs to a similar prime.

The fact there are more companies that have the capability to satisfy the needs of the contract and are able to be a subcontractor to a prime contractor, means the job market is oversaturated which is the real reason for your pay disparity.

Is there an effective way to negotiate for a raise in this scenario, without relying solely upon a competing offer? (I'm already looking for external offers, but I've never had a class on salary negotiation.)

The competing offer will be the best way to negotiate otherwise you will have to determine what competition is actually paying through research, which will be tough to do if there are more your position is oversaturated with potential applicants.

A GSA approved contractor, realistically can pay their employees whatever they want, if they choose to lose money offering a service to the government that would be entirely their choice.

IT GSA Schedule 70 FAQ

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