5 reasons your co-worker makes more money than you do

Learning that a co-worker earns more than you do can be infuriating, particularly if you’re doing roughly the same work at roughly the same level.

Over at U.S. News & World Report today, I talk about five reasons that might explain the disparity. Check it out here.

{ 8 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager

    Ha, actually I think I covered that under reason #1 — he negotiated better than you when he was hired. In my experience, male/female pay disparity in similar roles is often caused by the fact that men negotiate and women don't. Not all of it, of course. But a lot of it.

  2. JC

    I agree with all these points, as well as the fact that many women don't negotiate as much as men do. I kept this in mind as I was negotiating the salary for my new job. I was determined to negotiate! But then I found out the position was grant funded and there was a fixed salary for the time being. I would have liked to get a bit more, but the salary is a good "entry level" amount so I can work with it for the time being.

    In my last job, working there for only a year got me the same pay as the rest of my co-workers. I didn't even ask for a raise (it went by seniority and everyone knew it) but they told me I did such a good job I deserved the extra money. I was told not to tell anyone (which I wasn't planning to) because my boss felt it would bother my co-workers too much. I think discussing your wage and salary is a bit rude and arrogant anyway. As long as it pays your bills, and you are getting a fair wage for your work, no one else in the office needs to know about it.

  3. Anonymous

    You forgot a lot. Along with "he is a man" (and thanks for blaming the victims there, Allison, classy!) you can add:

    1. they are white
    2. they are skinnier
    3. they are of a higher class background
    4. they came in as a "consultant"
    5. your boss is trying to force you to leave
    6. they are friends with a higher-up
    7. they are f-ing someone higher-up

    These are all waaaay more likely that your "gee whiz, there's got to be a good reason!" naivete.

  4. Ask a Manager

    What I wrote about are what I think are the most common. I've been clear that the other situations certainly happen too, but what I wrote about are what I've seen as the most common reasons in my experience. It's easy to cry discrimination when the explanation is actually something else entirely. That doesn't mean discrimination doesn't happen, but there's nothing to indicate it's the most common explanation.

  5. Kara

    It's well documented that women don't negotiate as much as men. That's not blaming the victim, Anon. But how classy to be anonymous and attacking someone else.

  6. Anonymous

    There are many well researched reasons for the "wage-gap" between women and men anon 4:30. Some are logical some are less so.

    For example, as Allison pointed out here, women negotiate less aggressively then men. However, evidence also suggests that when women do negotiate aggressively (eg like a man) they are less likely to be rewarded for it.

    However, that is sort of beside Allison's point of "why your coworker earns more than you." The vast majority of the time this is based on actual discernable facts that are within your control. Giving up control to what other people are doing that you are incapable of is unproductive at best.

  7. justice

    i been a maintenance person for about 5 years ,the job pays 14 an hour and i was told i was going to start at 12 and after the 90 days i was going to get the 14 , to this day it hasnt happen , they hired a white person and gave him 14, they hired another person and just b/c that person knew so much and was doing favors for the big boss he got a raise and is making 14 , me im still making 12.24 , is the department of labor the place to complain ?

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