Difference in salaries of the same position, joining at the same time. How can you justify this?

Since learning that a male coworker who started in the same position as me, advanced more slowly than me, and is making 50% more money than me ($150k vs. my $100k), I’ve been enraged. Senior PMs, we both are.

He’s not one of my coworkers, however I have others that I’d be pleased to learn make that much. He misrepresented my research as being his own, is a creep in real life (touching women without their consent, pushing them into awkward situations when chit-chatting with them at happy hours), and is generally arrogant and condescending.

I’ve heard from several people that they prefer working with me because I make a better PM. I’ve also added new tasks to my plate and provided training for the staff as a whole. He knows how to “work” management and play up the boy’s club aspect with our direct managers, who are men, but he is also a bit of a kiss-up.

I asked for a raise but didn’t mention him or his pay, just my own accomplishments, and I was informed they couldn’t boost my pay more than 15%.

The vice president of product is a woman I greatly admire and who acts as somewhat of a mentor for me. We get along great. Should I question her about this discrepancy, I wonder. Or would that portray me as being petty?


No matter how competent you believe yourself to be in this company, you won’t be receiving a 50k raise.

My recommendation?

  1. Keep this in your mind forever.

  2. Investigate and discover what your peers produce.

  3. Never tell hiring or recruiting managers how much money you hope to make. ASK THEM how much the position pays.

  4. Never tell recruiters or recruiting managers your present salary.

  5. Ask for the biggest compensation possible during negotiations (backed by your research). Separately, I’ve found that presenting a precise amount rather than a range has worked better in discussions. When you give a range, they almost always choose the lowest number.

  6. Every 24 to 36 months, switch jobs. Compared to any of my acquaintances with the same number of years of experience, I earn around $65,000 more annually. And as a result, I have more seniority.

If I didn’t make myself clear, I’ll say it again: get out of here as soon as you can.

Oh! Also, be sure to note how this guy goes around luring bosses. In my over ten years of experience, perception accounts for the majority of how PMs are assessed. Make a big deal out of your achievements. Learn how to navigate office politics (but set rules for yourself). Working with average men who don’t deserve promotions, I’ve observed that they have the social skills to make up for their lack of talent.

Use both. You’ll DO GREAT.

Please take note: DO NOT bring up the disparity in pay with the VP. They are aware of it. The pay for everyone was authorized. Your reputation within the business will be at jeopardy if you let them know you know.


This is incredible advice, thank you very, very much for taking the time to write all of this out. I’m going to implement these ASAP.


How did you discover the colleague’s salary?

It appears to be an awful scenario. Asking a ton of questions will ensure that you have all the information you need to make a decision. Why are you only eligible for a 15% raise? What stops it from being more, exactly? What is the range of pay for your position? How may you possibly go to the next stage or higher within the band? What duties fall under the purview of senior project managers? When was the last time HR reviewed salaries? Is pay equity significant to the company? What steps are being taken to guarantee pay equity? Gather as much information as you can and enter the conversation with an open mind. Indicate clearly that you are curious about the operation of the company and that this is why you are there.

You’ll eventually have to decide whether or not this company is the right place for you, though, and if it isn’t, I’d be very clear in any exit interviews that the reason I’m leaving is because of sexism. You could try doing that if the VP of product seems like a safe environment to talk honestly about how this discrepancy makes you feel, but directly blaming him or equating yourself to him will not work out well.


@LuisNeilson, this comment, in my opinion, is the most applicable and beneficial one. In addition, asking about wage bands is crucial because the same title may apply to several bands, only HR being aware of/caring about these. (For instance, he is Senior PM III, and you are Senior PM I)

That doesn’t make the remarks about sexism in the context of experience and bargaining skills irrelevant but understanding the realities of salary at your workplace is unquestionably the best course of action.


Even with the pay gap, you can earn significantly more at elite unicorns or bigger companies like FAANG. Minimum 200k; maximum 300k. I would advise conducting the interview elsewhere.

100k is incredibly low for a senior PM.


@AnthonySmith, Compensation is indeed very personalized. In the recent years, I have also noticed bigger company’s standards for locality-adjusted pay (no California salary for living in Oklahoma) for new hires. People used to get California addresses and fly in for “office appearances” every few weeks to lock in the state’s pay rates.


I strongly disagree with that based on my significant personal experience. Anyone at FAANG in the USA with a PM title higher than APM is almost probably making well over $150k in total compensation.

Compensation is influenced by location, although not as much as people believe.


Would not go so far as to say almost certainly. There’s plenty of $120-150K for PM with a couple to few years in non-coastal areas.

That said, you’re right, $150K total+ is not uncommon. I do agree, Bay vs PNW vs Denver doesn’t always ratio appropriately for CoL. NYC seems to have weirdly low end and wide range to me, never having lived there.


In the end, your ability to negotiate a decent compensation is determined by your people skills and ability to influence. Did he tell you that he is paid more, or how do you know? If so, is there a possibility he could be lying or exaggerating?


I found out through a coworker who had access to financial info. They are a little gossip, but the fact that they were aware of my income makes me believe they had the correct information.


@AngelaBlue, In no way would I bring up his name in any discussions you have about pay. There are many factors that go into remuneration, and value to the organisation is not a straightforward equation. I’m not saying you don’t deserve the same or better; I’m just saying you won’t get there by comparing yourself to others and asking for the same compensation. In fact, I’ve seen this strategy backfire fairly frequently. Career advancement requires a balance between hard work and networking. Instead of comparing yourself to him, think of other ways to get there by networking internally or by getting another job offer with a 150k salary and asking your company to match it – who knows, maybe this was the way he got that salary as well. Now that you know what your company is willing to pay for a senior pm, stop comparing yourself to him.


@FelipeRibeiro, your instinct that comparing yourself to others is a losing move seems to be correct, but getting another job offer and preparing a counteroffer also seems like a bad suggestion.

If you choose to stay, it can be challenging to do so in a location where you previously expressed a desire to go. Additionally, if you’re starting to explore elsewhere, it’s likely that you’ve already decided to leave your organization on an emotional level.

In addition to receiving another offer, what are the strategic measures to obtaining a pay increase to match peers that I should put to the group? What objectives might one have when networking?


Without using such sneaky and cunning methods, I believe it is very difficult to obtain a salary match. Salaries are frequently budgeted in advance by higher-ups. A 50% rise is difficult to justify, and many employers would prefer to lose a worker than to offer them that large of a raise.


Actually, I concur with the previous comment. It’s not perfect, but it works.

The OP is unaware of the reasons behind the other man’s higher pay or even if it is true, although it seems plausible. The business currently thinks they can obtain some value for the money they are paying OP. Why would they, unless there was a good reason to pay more?

The objective isn’t to increase pay to match that of a peer because, in my opinion, the OP shouldn’t even be aware of the peer’s income and doing so would be grounds for dismissal. This is largely forbidden, especially in America.

To receive fair compensation is the objective. Share the benefits you’ve provided to the organization, learn the wage range for your job, and enquire about your overall rating. If your rating is “average,” you can contend that your pay should also be average in that category. If you believe the range to be incorrect, back it up with more facts from the area in which you work. If they refuse to increase the range, perhaps it is sufficient proof for you to begin looking elsewhere.

The OP needs to determine whether their goal is a pay increase or simply being on par with the other individual. Would they ask for a raise if they didn’t know the other person made more money? What are the elements that influence them?


It is entirely inappropriate for that coworker to have disclosed sensitive information to you. In most organizations, I would suppose, that would be grounds for termination.

You’re in a miserable situation, and I empathize with you. The last time I was really proud of my negotiation skills, they just matched the following hire’s (a guy) salary exactly. Although we had roughly similar experience and he was a great guy, it was ultimately fair. However, boy did I feel like I had to do all the homework.

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Because you have no commercial interest in the information, your colleague who had access to it shared it with you. Share this not. Start looking around more jobs if you desire more money. Your VP, as a mentor, has given the job you’re in, the green light and is aware of how much you earn. Keep in touch and ask them to serve as an outside mentor for you at your new company.