My coworker and I are both in IT, but he is the sole full-time hardware guy while I'm one of a handful of developers. We are fairly good friends.
Last week, he had to take a midnight call to reboot the system after a power outage. Since our boss was out the following day, he and I were getting chummy. Despite his ten-year employment at this company, he lamented he has only received cost-of-living raises and never a merit raise. Since he's the only hardware worker, he has to take basic troubleshooting calls from end users and manage things like licensing and printers which takes away from his network administration (his actual job title) and he's disappointed that this extra responsibility never lead to a proportional pay increase.
He then wondered aloud if anyone had gotten merit raises in our department, since he had never heard of anyone getting one. Since we were being chummy, we both joked about how ridiculous it would be if certain people got raises.
I kept mum about my own situation: this is my first job out of college and I've gotten at least one merit raise per year, and this will be the second year in a row that I'll be getting two. I've been here only a couple of years.
From the surface, there sounds like some sort of injustice, but there are a few unknown factors here:
- I don't know how much he is paid. He may have negotiated a higher starting salary than the other developers since he came from a previous job.
- I don't know how much the other developers are paid. Merit raises may be a mechanism to catch up to the more senior developers, and I was initially hired as a bargain.
- I don't know if other developers are getting merit raises.
- I don't know the steps to getting a merit raise. From my perspective, it's at my manager's discretion. I'm literally just doing my job and getting raises without asking. It's a small company.
- I don't know how conversations have went when/if he asked for a merit raise. I couldn't imagine that it's anything performance-based, as he always does solid work and completes his projects.
I know this guy well enough that he would champion for me if these roles were reversed, and I'd like to help him if I can. So, I can see a few options:
- Tell him I've been getting merit raises and to take it up with our manager. I may harbor some resentment from him and my manager, but at least he would know that he's getting skipped over. Plus, this issue should be resolved between those two; he just needs my evidence to make a case.
- Meet with my manager and discuss how my coworker feels neglected despite his responsibilities, mentioning the difference in merit raises between the two of us. I would explain my list of unknowns, concluding with how odd it sounds on the surface. I wouldn't ask for my coworker's raise on his behalf. Maybe this is the push my manager needs and he doesn't understand how my coworker feels about this situation.
- Say nothing; his pay isn't my issue, and my pay isn't his issue.