What to Do When Your Less Qualified Coworker Makes More Money Than You

Don’t Freak Out After Discovering a Coworker Brings Home a Bigger Paycheck

Maintain the Proper Perspective

For the most part, you and your colleagues get along fairly well. As a team, you’re pretty much in sync, with each member pulling his or her weight. That is, with the exception of one team member, who does the least amount of work possible.

Ironically, you discovered the same colleague also makes the same amount of money as you. It’s understandable to get upset, but if you truly want to fix the situation there’s a right and wrong way to go about it.

Here’s what to do when your colleague earns the same as you—and does less.

Remain Calm & Take Stock

While your first reaction might be to flip out, it’s best to take a practical approach to the situation.

Are the two of you in the exact same job with matching job responsibilities? Do you have the same education level? Perhaps your coworker has a higher degree, extra certification, or more years of experience. These things matter and even though you might not want to hear it, could be the (very good) reason you’re getting paid less.

After all, you can’t complain to your boss that your colleague deserves a demotion and a reduced salary.

Do Your Research

Your first thought was probably to ask for a raise. Understandable. But make sure you go in armed with the right information.

Did you negotiate salary when you were hired? If you didn’t and your coworker did, it’s no wonder he/she makes more money. But before you go in and try to remedy that, do some research. Head to Salary.com’s free Salary Wizard and figure out what the median salary is for your job in your specific location. And if you want an even more precise salary range as well as other helpful negotiation tools, consider buying a Personal Salary Report.

After all, you might find out you’re already paid fair market value for your experience and education level. But either way, you should have a target and a plan before you go in for the negotiation.

Ask for a Raise the Right Way

Schedule a meeting with your boss to see if you can get a raise.

Even a minimal raise will make you feel better, since (hopefully) you’ll be out-earning your lazy colleague. But under no circumstances should you base the raise request on the fact that you pull more weight than your colleague. That can actually backfire, causing your raise to be outright denied.

Instead, be smart about your request by making it all about you. Show through examples how you have helped the company. Maybe you were instrumental in implementing a new program that boosted productivity within your department and also saved the company money as well. Showcasing the great work you’ve done can help you get not only a raise, but some much-needed respect from your boss, too.

Be Ready With Alternatives to Salary

As much as your boss might want to give you a raise, it may not be in the budget to do so. So be prepared with a list of other workplace perks that would make you happy in lieu of cold hard cash.

You can ask to take classes (on the company’s tab) that can help advance your education. Or you might want to ask for a flexible schedule that will allow you to work at home part-time. Not having to commute into the office every day will not only save you time and money, but can also give you greater work-life balance. And that, as they say, is priceless.

This content is brought to you by FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities offering work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time and work from home jobs For more career advice and job search tips, visit the FlexJobs blog.

Let Salary.com Help You

It can sting when a coworker does less than you but earns the same salary. It’s up to you, though, to handle yourself professionally. That way, you can potentially increase your earning potential (and score some workplace perks!) while still enjoying your work, too. Salary.com can help you get paid fairly what you do.

The first thing you should do is research, so you’re able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what’s a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.

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