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I work for a Construction Company. One of the managers has recently left the company and my line manager offered the job to me. Previously when he was off, the workload was covered almost entirely by myself in addition to my current role and I struggled to perform either role to a standard that I consider acceptable.

Head office intervened to force the job to be advertised internally and externally. During the interview process, my line manager kept assuring me that the job would be mine (despite me informing him that he shouldn't).

He then asked if I would accept the job for less wages than the previous employee (citing pressure from head office), which I declined as I am more qualified than the previous employee despite being less experienced.

He then told me and the office that the job was mine (but wouldn't actually tell me the wage that went with it). His line manager then said that they wanted a business case for paying me the going rate for the role, and it became apparent to me that they weren't aware that I had been informed that the job was mine.

We provided head office with a list of my qualifications, experience and the jobs that I do in my current role and how they would contribute to me performing the new role. They have now responded by offering me a job that combines both my current role and the new role for less money than the previous employee was on. I was told that if I didn't accept the role, they would not replace the manager, implying that the work would still be mine to do.

This feels like a form of blackmail and I am unsure of what my next steps should be. I am potentially going to be applying for a mortgage soon so am not in a position to be moving jobs.

The only two options I can see are: 1) Work to rule - do my current job and refuse to do anything not covered by the job role 2) Accept that my work load has doubled without remuneration

Are there any options that I am missing (I have considered going to HR as I feel the attempts to cut my pay may be gender related but I have no proof of this)

  • Would you be receiving more wages that your current position? If so, what percentage increase would it be? – sf02 Mar 6 at 18:45
  • @sf02 an extra 16% - the going rate for the role would have been a 29% payrise – Soulsac Mar 6 at 18:47
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    Sounds like you should take your experience elsewhere - they won’t pay you properly as you have already done that work “on the cheap”... – Solar Mike Mar 6 at 18:55
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    Well as its the UK you could hint that you are considering a grievance as it sounds like that the previous employee was a guy and you are not. – Neuromancer Mar 7 at 23:06
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Someone's trying to pull something in the head office. That means that they're presenting it to you as inescapable, and expecting you to just buy into it. Unfortunately, you don't have optics on the situation. It might be that they have more than enough ruthlessness and pull to get what they want, or it may be that they're bluffing.

One important thing you've noted is that you're not able to handle the workload they've proposed at what you think is an acceptable standard of quality. You struggled to do it on a temporary basis before. There's no reason to believe that you can handle it on an ongoing basis now. So there's an option. Say that. Tell your boss. Tell the line manager. Openly refuse to accept a role where you are required to perform substandard work over an extended period. This is in some ways similar to "work to rule", except that you can present as being professional, rather than truculent.

As far as the money... basically, someone decided to play hardball because they figured they could get you to accept it, and thus get a high-quality candidate for little money, and thus put numbers on the bottom line that woudl make them look good. If you are female, it is highly likely that this is part of that. Specifically, the fact that you are female is what makes them think they can get away with it. You can respond to that. You can present a pretty straightforward argument of "I'm more capable than the last guy" (be sure to have proof, or at least strong evidence), "he had a job with these requirements and this pay. I refuse to accept a worse deal than he got." There's a decent chance that they'll modify their position in response.

If you're going to do something like that, it might also behoove you to discuss it with HR. Be friendly, considerate, and sympathetic (HR is often overworked, and even more often feels overworked). Don't go throwing around formal accusations or acting like you're going to cause trouble. Instead just go and talk with them. Express your concerns. Express that you think this guy (whoever it is) is treating you somewhat unfairly and targeting you because you're female. Ask if they have advice on what to do, given that you want to make sure that the quality of your work doesn't suffer. If you present it right, HR will see him as a company problem, rather than seeing you as a company problem... and in situations like this, having someone else leaning on him from the other side could be helpful.

Basically, though, you're in a negotiation right now. They're playing hardball, in the hopes of forcing you to accept a terrible deal. This is still during the negotiation stage, though. Unless you cave, the negotiation isn't over.

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  • Nothing in op post suggests sexism, so where did you get such accusations from? This is not something to throw around lightly, -1 – Tymoteusz Paul Mar 7 at 8:01
  • @TymoteuszPaul Read it again. "I have considered going to HR as I feel the attempts to cut my pay may be gender related but I have no proof of this" - straight out of the original post. – Ben Barden Mar 10 at 15:21
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The only two options I can see are: 1) Work to rule - do my current job and refuse to do anything not covered by the job role 2) Accept that my work load has doubled without remuneration

You have a third option. Take the new position, and the smaller pay rise, and update your resume with the new position. Then look for another company to move to, and leave. If they're messing you about at this point, staying isn't really an option.

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The only two options I can see are: 1) Work to rule - do my current job and refuse to do anything not covered by the job role 2) Accept that my work load has doubled without remuneration

You have a third option, which is find a new company to work for that will pay to at an acceptable rate. This company is clearly attempting to exploit you, so I would start applying elsewhere immediately.

In the meantime, accept the offer as you will have an increased workload regardless. You will be making a little more money while you search for a new company to work for. I would not worry about the mortgage because as long as your new job is the same/similar to your current job, you should not be penalized as far as being approved for a mortgage.

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  • That's risky advice about the mortgage. Being in a new job is definitely seen as a risk. – Kat Mar 7 at 5:30
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I would take a combination of the two answers. There are pros to each one, and in your situation not many cons. IMHO I would follow these steps.

  1. Send out your resume and start looking for a new job

  2. Have a conversation with HR about what is going on. Not necessarily in an accusatory way but just as a heads up as how it's being portrayed. ("Jon made 29% more than what I currently make, I'm just as qualified and I would have more responsibility. Why on Earth would I be paid less?")

  3. Negotiate for that higher pay you desire. (or negotiate for someone to fill your old position that you can delegate tasks to so you're not overloaded.)

  4. If that fails go ahead and accept the offer while you continue looking elsewhere.

But good luck with whatever you decide to do, just don't put yourself in a position to be taken advantage of.

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