Woman Told To Demand a Raise After Discovering Coworker Earns $98K More 

A woman has been urged to find a new job after discovering her coworker earns $98,000 more than her. The mother, who works in IT, turned to the internet for support on January 26 as her annual pay review didn't go to plan.

The Mumsnet user explained that the review was via video call and her manager shared her screen. When she opened the document, however, it was someone else's—and the coworker had a much higher salary.

"Overall this person is paid £80k more than me. I was so stunned at this discrepancy I could not register what my manager was saying to me. After a few minutes she 'realized' the mistake and shut down the document," she wrote.

User Eastie77Returns describes her manager as "meticulous," which has led her to believe this wasn't a mistake. Newsweek reached out to a career advice expert who stated that discussing salaries within the workplace is still seen as taboo.

Upset woman
A stock image of a stressed woman looking at her laptop. A Mumsnet user has recently discovered her colleague earns almost $100,000 more than her. KucherAV/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The woman's boss told her that she had "just finished [a colleague's] pay review." The colleague, Jane, had recently been promoted. The user assumed the document belonged to Jane who has the same job as her.

She concluded the post by writing: "Needless to say I am job hunting. I am so confounded by this whole situation, I am just in a daze. I knew people in my team were paid different amounts but never dreamt the discrepancy could be so wide. I think I am probably the lowest-paid member of the team."

In the comments, she refers to herself as "undervalued" and points out that every performance review has been extremely positive but she is often told she isn't "visible enough."

The woman has been backed by 81 percent of 319 Mumsnet users who voted "you are not being unreasonable" on the poll.

Newsweek discussed salary discrepancies with Jill Cotton, a careers expert at Glassdoor, a website that provides insights into jobs and companies.

She said: "Salary discrepancies are possible because pay secrecy still thrives in many workplaces. Despite all the benefits salary transparency can bring (from increased worker motivation to greater employee equality), companies that openly share pay bands are in the minority. And the stigma attached to talking about money extends to workers too."

A stock image illustrating financial planning. A careers advice expert has shared tips on how to ask for a raise. demaerre/iStock/Getty Images Plus

In 2022, Glassdoor surveyed 2,000 workers in full-time employment and the results found 75 percent were apprehensive about discussing pay with their boss or colleagues. And just 15 percent of employees know the pay ranges available at their company.

Cotton told Newsweek: "It could be that the other worker ('Jane') brought more experience or qualifications to the role, hence the increased package. But it's crucial that workers understand their worth and be clear on the value and results they bring to their role. When it comes to pay, if you don't ask, you're unlikely to get it."

3 Tips To Help You Get a Payrise

Cotton said employers can pay whatever they like, as long as it is above minimum wage. "But just because you have accepted a salary, doesn't mean that it can't change in the future," she told Newsweek.

Cotton has shared three tips that may help you discuss a raise:

  1. Schedule a time to speak to your manager and let them know you want to discuss your salary.
  2. Build your case for a wage increase by using an online salary checker to calculate your market value.
  3. Quantify your worth by prepping examples of your success in the last 6-12 months.

What Do the Comments Say?

Almost 100 people have commented on the post. One said: "If they want to keep you they will find the money."

"She's done you a favor. I know you say there's a fixed budget but I think you'd be a fool not to try and negotiate a pay rise. Maybe she wanted you to know the discrepancy to give you a push into asking for one!" said another.

Another said: "Exactly. That was on purpose, no mistake [was] made. Your boss isn't that stupid. If she likes you, she wants you to ask for a pay rise. If she doesn't, she wants you to quit."

Newsweek was not able to verify the details of the case.

Have you had a workplace dilemma? Let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.