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What to Do When a New Hire, in a Junior Role, Has a Higher Salary Than You

It’s easy to assume that your colleagues that have similar experience and education as you, will earn the same salary as you. Imagine learning that a new hire, in a junior role to yours, is making more money than you. This happens quite frequently, especially in professions plagued with nepotism, sexism, racism, and ageism.

Salary can be a taboo topic in the office, this makes it easy for companies to take advantage of an employee that does not negotiate their salary after being hired. Companies have a bargain in a worker who does not consistently negotiate their salary… loyal worker for little pay. If you find yourself in this position apply these five tips to successfully navigate this career curveball:

1. Don’t Panic: If you are upset, hurt, and confused, your feelings are valid. The first power move to implement is to operate in emotional intelligence. Do not immediately react with angry or loud tones in public or digital platforms. Use discernment about discussing it with people who can not help you address the situation. Please remember that your salary does not equate with your worth. To combat low salary self-worth, you need the language, tools, and strategy that empower you to negotiate a salary that is in alignment with your value.

2. Strategize: Being in a company that has not made it known that a higher salary could be budgeted for you, does communicate unhealthy patterns of caring for their staff. You need to decide if you want to say in a place that would allow this to happen. Ask yourself if the salary discrepancy is the only toxicity to be found.

3. Plan A Raise Conversation: Organize your contributions to the company’s mission in an easy to follow presentation. Focus on your transformation numbers and not the salary that the junior member is making. Clearly explain how you make the company money, save them money and time, and connect with them with expansion opportunities. Schedule time with each member of your personal career executive board to practice your pitch and get feedback on how to improve it.

4. Have A Negotiation Up Your Sleeve: The power salary move to implement is to be well versed in salary ranges for a person with your education and experience prior to the conversation you will have with management. This requires that you research what salary ranges and benefit packages that are common for your role in your geographical area. You should also be knowledgeable about the company’s funding sources and funding cycles. Knowing whether your company is local or federal government or privately owned lets you in on how steady their funding is for salaries, the spikes and valleys for employee’s income, and what fluctuations each fiscal year will bring.

If management give you push back on the price point for your promotion, be ready to do the salary and compensation dance. A lot of companies brag on their digital platforms about the benefits their employees are offered. Research other companies’ digital platforms for perks outside of salary and hone in on perks that will save you money like telework, transportation costs covered, company vehicle, training, tuition reimbursement, mentoring, mental health support, etc. This information will give you leverage for the salary dance if they are not willing to come as high as you want.

Don’t forget to flex your worth. A power move in this ask, is to know where the company is not being resourceful and educating management on how you have filled in the gaps. Remind management of the powerful connections that you forged that lead to more clients or funding sources for them. Infuse in the conversation how you maximized the tools and resources you were issued. This will establish in management’s mind that you are worth the investment of the salary that you are requesting; they will clearly see that the return on investment is high and it’s a no brainer to give you a higher salary.

5. Review The Job Description: Review your current roles’ job description and look for requirements your surpassed. Record how you went above and beyond what was asked of you. If you have access to the description of the responsibilities in a role that would be a promotion for you (check job descriptions on digital platforms if they are not easily accessible), review that description and salary as well. Ask yourself “Am I already fulfilling the obligations of the role above mine?” If you are doing your job and then some, you have leverage to argue for a higher salary. You already know the floor for your salary request should be at or higher than the colleague being paid more than you.

If you don’t have a success squad these tips can be hard to implement. Book a free career assessment to see how our coaching program can make this a stress-free process for you. Work Journal. A Place to Record How Awesome You Are© is your travel sized career coach with the confidence boosting power you need.

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