In my previous article, I wrote about how internal promotions rob workers of the salary they rightfully deserve. As a follow-up to that article, I will go into the details, step-by-step on how “The Salary Choker,” steals money right out of the hands of valuable corporate workers that have been promoted through the ranks.
As a refresher, the internal promotion is when a worker receives a promotion at their current company. And to be clear, internal promotions offer many benefits such as, increased responsibility and stability, greater visibility within the organization, positive affirmation (a nod that they’re on the right path) and more often than not, more pay.
On the other hand, for many corporate workers, the internal promotions can be a negative experience with issues ranging from getting forced into a new role, having no clear direction on what the new role is about, receiving no pay increase and finally, receiving a pay increase that is not commensurate with the new role obtained.
Today I’ll focus on the latter which is the issue of not receiving pay that is commensurate with the role the worker was promoted to. And sure, workers who get external promotions (by leaving their current company for a more senior role at a new company) can also get a salary that is not on-par with their new role, but I have found that most external promotions often come with at-market or better-than-market pay for the worker.
If you’ve been following along, you’ll know why I called the internal promotion “The Salary Choker.” So now I will walk you through how “The Salary Choker” plays out in most scenarios that I’ve encountered and for continuity sake, we’ll continue to use our friend “Anna” from part one of this post as an example.
Here’s how “The Salary Choker” usually plays out for most corporate workers:
- Anna’s first “real” job: Anna joins the corporation and gets paid an entry-level, at or above-market salary. Off to a great start Anna!
- Anna’s a rock star: Anna has caught on fast in her new career. Way to kick butt, Anna!
- Anna’s first promotion: And then it’s “celebrate good times, c’mon:” Anna gets her first promotion!
- Her new salary: Anna gets a salary increase that is just below-market for her new role but she figures that she’ll make it up on her next big promotion. Although she did not get the salary she expected for such a big promotion she assures herself by saying, “I’ll work extra hard so they’ll have no choice but to pay me the salary I deserve for my next promotion.”
- The corporation wins Round 1: The firm’s management team is happy because, by not paying Anna the market rate for her role, they’re getting above-market performance for below-market prices – not a bad deal for the firm.
- She’s at it again: Just like before, Anna kicks butt in her new role.
- Anna’s second promotion: It’s party time: Anna is up for her second promotion—she’s a rock star!
- But she’s wiser now: This time, Anna presents her boss with market research on competitive salaries and a well-written career plan to justify a salary increase that will get her an at-market salary or better.
- But it doesn’t matter to the firm: Despite her hard work and well-written case, the firm still gives Anna a salary increase that is just below-market for her third role. Her HR manager swoops in and tells her that, although she is a valuable asset to the corporation, the corporation does not have the budget to accommodate her salary request. But she is encouraged to keep working hard as her HR manager assures her that her salary will be revisited at a later time when things get better.
- The corporation wins Round 2: The corporation is even happier, by not paying the market rate to Anna, they just received a proven, highly successful executive at below-market rates! The HR team pats themselves on the back for controlling costs. Meanwhile, Anna’s salary falls deeper below market rates.
- Anna is starting to lose faith: Not sure what to believe anymore, Anna wonders if her salary will ever catch-up to market rates. Eventually, she reduces her effort on the job because after all, hard work is not paying off in the end like her mother promised that it would.
- Anna’s had enough of the bull: Anna has had enough of the crap and finally calls it quits for another, more lucrative career. At happy hour with her now former coworkers, while watching the TV at the bar, Anna sees that the board unanimously agrees to a 21% salary increase for the CEO—to ensure that his salary remains on par with his peers despite the company’s poor performance.
By the way, that story above is exactly what happened to me.
On one hand, it appears that the corporation loses in the end because they’ve lost a worker that has had a well-documented history of success with valuable experience and knowledge.
But on the other hand, I also see that the corporation won overall because they received years of top-notch talent and productivity for below-market rates—resulting in a boatload of cash that they can stuff in their coffers (or give to the CEO in a pay increase). Not to mention that the unfortunate worker missed out on thousands of dollars that could have gone towards retirement savings, vacations, better schooling for their kids, medical care for their aging parents, more deposits into their kids’ college fund and so on. The pay the worker deserved but never received is lost and in most cases, cannot ever be recouped. Worse, it may take years for that worker to get back to an at-market salary.
I’m baffled that more folks aren’t talking about this injustice because it happens so often in large corporations all over the world.
It happened to me. It happened to hundreds of corporate workers that I’ve spoken to. And it’s happening to thousands if not millions as I write this.
But times are changing…
Something is brewing in the career space. I’m increasingly finding corporate workers, mostly millennials, that are beginning to take action against companies that engage in tactics like this. I personally had this happen to me twice in my career but I took matters in my own hands and in as little as 5 years and three positions, I was able to grow my salary by over 300%! Now I’m not saying that to brag but rather to encourage that superstar corporate worker who is growing professionally but experiencing salary inequity.
With courage, determination and the right knowledge, I am sure that workers in a similar situation can double their salaries. Yes, I said that right, I believe that workers can double their salary within a relatively short time frame.
Stay connected as I begin to explain the exact steps I took to accomplish this huge feat. It’s time to turn the tables on greedy, shortsighted corporations and I want to help all corporate workers who are suffering under salary injustice achieve the salary they rightfully deserve!
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