SURVEY SAYS: How Would Your Boss Rank Your Pay?

July 20, 2006 ( - There have been a number of surveys lately that suggest a disconnect between how workers perceive the equity of their pay situation versus their employers.

It wasn’t always their perspective, but a majority of this week’s respondents ( 56% ) said that their boss would consider them to be paid fairly, compared with 35% who said their bosses consider them to be underpaid.    However, there was a lot of diversity in those responses, from as simple as “I think my boss would choose “(c)” that I’m fairly compensated and I would agree,” to ” I recently started a new job.   I have to say that my boss did his due diligence – he used my qualifications and experience, looked at salary survey information, considered the cost of the benefits, and established a fair bonus plan.   I can’t complain,” to “I’m sure my boss would say that I’m paid fairly and I would basically have to agree with him.   However, it’s been 22 months since our last increase – for all employees and nothing in sight!”


In view of our audience, we also got responses such as the following, “I believe that my boss thinks I am paid fairly.   Of course, I am the Salary Administrator for the company, so I provide him with the information on what employees should be paid.”   Another said, “We HR types see the data and pretty much know where we stand relative to the market. However, to really answer the question you have to know and understand what’s the compensation philosophy of your employer. That is, do they want to be in the top quartile, the middle, lower end or somewhere in-between when compared to the competition. My boss is the HR director and he too knows the data.”

And there were a number of responses like the reader who – emphasizing the aforementioned disconnect in perceptions, noted “I’m sure that he thinks c), paid fairly.   I also know that he thinks 50 hours a week is fair for what he is paying me…….”   Then there was the reader who said, “On the record, probably (C); off the record, I would like to think they agree with (B)” – or the reader who noted, ” I really think my boss thinks I am paid fairly; however he doesn’t take in to account the time I spend on the road, overnight travel and having to manage a staff of 3 employees on a daily basis.”

Which, of course, is an excellent transition to the perspectives of those who said their bosses consider them underpaid.   “Definitely underpaid!” noted one.  “The reason my manager gives me is… “because they don’t understand what you do”.   Personally, I think that it’s part of my manager’s job to make “them” understand.” “I’m sure that he knows that I am underpaid,” continued another, “unfortunately, he does not have enough control over the situation.” 

“Since my merit increase was less than the rate of inflation I am hopeful that my boss would say (b) underpaid,” noted another.   “(b) underpaid,” another cited, who went on to say “and he likes it that way.”

“I have a new boss (again), effective February 1, 2006, my 5th in 9 years,” observed another.  “He apparently thinks I’m paid too much.   I’m the only non-officer reporting directly to him, other than his secretary.   When he gave out raises this year, he gave me a 2% raise and pointed out that I already made a very good salary for “someone at my level”.

Roughly 4% each said that their bosses perspective depended on the day/job, while a like number opted for “other,” including the reader who said, “Working for the government, management has little to say about salary.”   Another noted, “Confidential, unless your employer monitors email.   :)”

“While my immediate supervisor would agree with me that I am (b) underpaid, her boss (the guy with the magic signature) would respond with (c) paid fairly, while in fact (e) has no idea, although he really means (f) doesn’t matter; there are no salary increases budgeted again this year.”  And there was the reader who said, “As for what our compensations committee thinks, who knows?   I think they like to leave it up to the little elves who come in at night.”

“I think my boss feel (c) paid fairly.   But as a boss I myself have the feelings of (d) depends on the day sometimes toward my employees, so I would not doubt at times he feels (d) toward me too…” 

Some of my favorites from this week were the following:

“It can not be A (overpaid) as I would be hearing about budget issues.   It can not be B (underpaid) as I would get a raise if that were the case.   It has to be C.”

“Wait…….We’re supposed to get paid for this?”

“How about (g) worth every penny?   Especially during tax season….   :-)”

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who noted, “I am sure my boss would say that I am fairly paid, and although we agree on most things, this isn’t one of them.”

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!