askST Jobs: What to do when colleagues in the same job are getting paid more

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SINGAPORE – In this series, workforce reporter Tai Hong Yi provides practical answers to candid questions about facing workplace challenges and moving forward in your career.

Q: I found out that my team mates are paid more than me for doing the same job. What should I do?

a: Most organizations attempt to base compensation decisions on sound, defensible principles such as employee history or skill sets.

Doing so would otherwise affect employee morale, said Lionel Lu, chief customer solutions officer for ASEAN at Mercer.

He added that someone with greater skills and a more notable track record may be paid more than someone at the same job level with a similar scope of work.

This is most practiced in professions such as application development where different individuals doing the same job can produce drastically different outputs due to differences in skills, and less certain in professions where the work is highly organized and the outputs are not very different despite differences in skills. .”

However, the tight labor market in Asia can lead to employers bidding on wages to attract new talent, even if it means paying more than existing employees with similar records and skills are getting.

“Organizations are constantly trying to overpay each other to attract talent, therefore, employees who change organizations frequently put themselves in a situation where their salaries are often upwardly adjusted,” Lu noted.

He added, “Ironically, ‘loyal’ employees who spend more time in an organization find that their salaries lag behind those of their peers.”

Mr Paul Henge, Managing Director of NeXT Career Consulting Group, said that employees who wish to have a conversation about pay differences should professionally engage their immediate supervisor, with relevant facts justifying their salary review.

He added, “Never threaten the company – such as saying, ‘I will resign if this matter is not reasonably dealt with.'”

He noted that employers may not be able to provide immediate salary review due, in part, to their job performance.

The staff must then ask when the problem can be addressed again, and decide if they can hold out until then.

Heng cautions that employees should be aware of potential questions about how they find out about pay differences, since salaries are supposed to be confidential matters.

He said market salary surveys may provide a useful indicator for entering salary negotiations.