I've worked at my current organisation for nearly 5 years. An equal level colleague with no more skills and less experience in the industry, and only 2 years for this company is leaving. The job ad for his replacement went out with a salary range between 2 and 4k more than I'm paid annually.

Considering I've more experience in the company, and industry in general, I feel this is unfair and I'm due a salary increase.

Though my employment record isn't clean, due to some personal issues several months ago, I'm on a written warning for lateness.

Is it just, for me to ask for a raise, to be on an equivalent (or higher) salary than that of the newbie that's going to be employed, or can/should/would my tarnished record affect this decision?

I'm in the UK if it matters.

  • 2
    I surely wouldn't. I am in the US (so take this with a grain of salt).. but in my experience written warnings exist solely to give the employer mounting evidence to terminate your employment. If you have received one, even if you feel it is unjustified, that tells me your supervisors don't perceive you the way you would want them to when evaluating whether you deserve a raise. I would suggest putting in some more time and get some positive marks on your scorecard before asking for more money.
    – DanK
    Apr 8 '16 at 12:49
  • Possible duplicate of How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid?
    – gnat
    Apr 8 '16 at 13:03
  • @DanK I agree that it's a forerunner to termination, I'd go for the raise though, you have nothing to lose, and you should already be on the job hunt so if it was me I'd ask.
    – Kilisi
    Apr 8 '16 at 17:45
  • @DankK, a single written warning for lateness does not invalidate any of the positive accomplishments and contributions the employee has made. If they've been on time since that warning, it should be clear to the employer that they have remedied whatever perception they have of them. Apr 8 '16 at 17:55

You should always argue for a raise on your own merits instead of focusing too much on what your colleagues are doing.

In most offices, no two employees have truly equal responsibilities and tasks. It's useful and by most accounts beneficial for employees and employers to be transparent about raises and wages, but the fact that a colleague at the same level is earning more does not by itself justify a raise. Perhaps your (future) colleague will cover different responsibilities. Maybe they want to attract people with certain knowledge or experience that you don't have. They could be (thinking of) redefining the role.

When you ask for a raise you should justify it based on the value you've added to the company in the recent past. That can be anything: meeting or exceeding business goals, reducing costs, increasing profits, managing well, obtaining a certification, ...

The salary range they advertised for your colleague can be useful part of the information you should collect to judge your market worth and to adjust your salary expectations but you never want to phrase a request for a raise as "He's going to make more than me, that's so unfair!" Even if it is.

I don't know your situation or the importance of this written warning in your organisation. In some companies such warnings are used as a gentle reminder that you don't have flexible hours and shouldn't go overboard on coming in late. In others this would be the lead-up to a Performance Improvement Plan or dismissal. If it's serious then yes, arguing for a raise is difficult. It's much easier if you can say that you've acknowledged their feedback, took it to heart and haven't been late since.

  • "argue for a raise on your own merits" - I don't think this is always true. At my last job (and from what I understand most jobs) is that the longer you stay the closer the gap in pay is compared to someone just hired. You had to work X more number of years to get the same pay someone just now hired. With that said, the best option is to simply find a new job. That is a sad reality these days.
    – Dan
    Apr 8 '16 at 13:00
  • @Dan That's only true if you don't get raises to keep their salary in line with market rates, which often happens because people don't want or dare to ask for them. Some companies don't "do" raises and don't mind being left with poor employees as a result. High-performers have options and will usually go to companies where they're paid appropriately.
    – Lilienthal
    Apr 8 '16 at 13:11
  • In this case, we do, do exactly the same work. It's interchangeable, and anyone should be able to pick up others' tasks. We work using "Agile" methodologies. The warning was for lateness. It's now a non-issue. I've a couple of months before it expires.
    – i-CONICA
    Apr 8 '16 at 13:19
  • @i-CONICA, while the lateness may be a non-issue, the fact that you have a warning on your record is far from a non-issue. That will remain as part of how management views you.
    – cdkMoose
    Apr 8 '16 at 13:56

I would say you can ask for a raise. As I read your question it seems your personal issues are a thing of the past, and you have improved your performance since.

However, the argument that you should be paid more just because a similar colleague is paid more than you is a weak one. Instead try to put the focus on your experience, knowledge and performance within the company. You might mention that you've seen the job opening and that you believe your added value to the company is likely higher than the fresh hire who has no experience in the company. But do tread carefully as to not seem frustrated or jealous.

If however your current performance still is average at best, I would make it my first priority to impress the boss before asking the raise. This would make you look a lot better during the talk.

  1. You have a written warning. Usually they come with a time period when they are expunged. In the meantime you have a red dot on your forehead. I would suggest behave and do not rock the boat.
  2. The advertised salary has to take into account the current market conditions. Perhaps there is a shortage at the moment in time - this will raise the salary.
  3. It is best not to think too much about what others are earning. If you think that you are receiving enough money for the job and are happy with the job - then things are dandy. If not ask for a raise (but in your current circumstances this is not a viable option) or move on.

With a written warning - I would suggest it might be better to move on rather than being pushed.

  • Not to mention that salaries for new hires are almost always higher than salaries for existing employees doing the same job. This is required to overcome inertia and draw a new hire into the company; whereas, with the existing employees, inertia acts to keep them there. Apr 8 '16 at 21:30
  • That depends on the company. Many want to keep good employees that turn up and do the extra. Therefore pay the going rate and a bit more
    – Ed Heal
    Apr 8 '16 at 21:32

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