I work with a small company.

2 new 'software developer' hires get more compensation than the currently employed ones, based on their experience (years) in technology which has around 15% contribution in the software.

Whereas current hires who have mastered all of the technologies and also the product get less compensation.

How would you explain this to your manager in your appraisal?

  • 2
    Prior to engaging in any discussion on this topic you might want to review company policy on employees discussing their compensation with other employees. Some companies consider this a firing offense.
    – NotMe
    Nov 21, 2014 at 15:10
  • 1
    Unfortunately, where you started often determines where you are Nov 21, 2014 at 16:23
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    Mastery of technologies is only a teeny tiny portion of why people get higher salaries. It is, by far, not the most critical thing in getting more money. Things I can think of whitout even trying are politics, negotiating skill, market rates at the time of hire, value of theh position to the business, performance of the individual, realtionship of the individual to the person setting the salary. It is so far down the list that it is basically not considered at all.
    – HLGEM
    Nov 21, 2014 at 20:14
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    You could do it in binary, or with encryption. No! A riddle. That is how you cleverly complain. Use a riddle.
    – bharal
    Nov 22, 2014 at 15:27

5 Answers 5


Don't try to be clever, just be direct. Arrange a private meeting with your boss, explain your grievance clearly and ask what the rationale is.

My guess is that they offered what they needed to get more experienced staff, and perhaps thought that anyone who had a problem with it would raise it.

Pay in private enterprise is rarely done on the basis of fairness, but based on what you need to pay someone to get them to stay. If you're fed up, get an offer at another company; then you have a choice and your current employer knows they have to compete. In negotiation this is called a 'viable alternative'.

Bosses have to balance 2 things: a desire to reduce costs (of which pay is a large one) and desire to retain good staff. Being clear and open is the best way to deal with the issue.

  • Do not expect to get a raise if you raise the issue this way.
    – HLGEM
    Nov 21, 2014 at 20:05

Never ever, under any circumstances, ask for a pay raise based on what someone else gets. People with less experience than you may make far more money and people with more may make less. It depends on what the market will bear and the negotiating skills of the person when they were hired. There it would be a rare company that will pay you more because they pay someone else more.

By all means discuss salary at the review, although I would bring up the subject before the review. The amount at the time of the review is often set in stone because it was a result of weeks or even months of negotiations between managers to fit all pay raises into the budget. But do it in terms of what you are contributing and how much more valuable you are now than when your current salary was set. If you write a self-appraisal, then make sure you document your accomplishments well. That helps your boss sell giving a higher raise to you to the people with the money.

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    Absolutely. Use the appraisal to give your boss the ammunition with which to argue that you're a top performer and should get performance bonuses/performance raises/promotions... but make your request to your boss OUTSIDE that document. It's often safer and more effective to put it as "It's been a while since I've seen a raise; what would I have to improve on to get one?" That puts it in terms of your trying to be an even more valued employee, rather than your being a disgruntled one, and tends to have more productive results.
    – keshlam
    Nov 21, 2014 at 14:35

Any pay rise in an appraisal is about the value YOU bring to a company. It is likely to have been agreed in advance of your appraisal, and your manager is unlikely to have room to maneuver.

You can't really compare to newer hires, unless your company has a fixed grade/salary structure (usually public sector).

For all that people say, it is not about negitiation (or holding your company hostage with another offer), the market dominates.

You were probably recruited within the last five years, the credit crunch meant there were many vying for your role and you were likely the best, but the glut of choice for the employer meant they could offer low in salary. Now the market is pretty hot, people getting roles more easily so even mediocre to poor candidates need good deals to secure.

Does this mean the employer should match across the board? Most couldn't do this, and it would mean not taking on new staff, so making your life harder.

The simple truth is you need to have a unique selling point, or take another offer if you want more, being good at you job isn't enough on its own (and hostage taking will get you pushed out as soon as you are no longer vital).


You need to hide the fact that you know what others are making. Disclosing this during the review could be a very bad move and won't help you in negotiation.

You have to show that you are pulling your own weight or possibly more. Then you should ask for more money than that the others make. Your boss may or may not counter-offer. Hopefully you will learn what his reasoning is in determining your salary.

He may say the company doesn't have more money to pay you. If a counter-offer is still under their salary but he claims he can't pay you more than anyone else, now you know how to tell when he's lying.


This question puts the cart before the horse.

Employers don't pay to make you feel better. And employers certainly don't want to reward people for complaining about their level of pay. Employers pay to keep you. Employers pay for people who have demonstrable value. So unless you have a better opportunity and you're prepared to walk, and mean it, talking about pay AT ALL is usually a losing proposition. Makes no difference whether its in the appraisal or not.

Until you have a better opportunity, you have little to negotiate with. Many employers will call your bluff right up until what you thought was the last second - and then call your bluff well past that time too. Remember, discussions about pay almost never endear you to management. Those discussions create some uncertainty and mistrust no matter what the outcome. That's bad for business - which is about profit and risk reduction.

Pay discussions are also more challenging than more routine situations to handle professionally. So make sure you have a really good reason (i.e. substantially higher offer/better opportunity) before embarking down that path.

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