Signs You’re Not Getting Paid Enough

Did anyone see the news last week that GM CEO, Dan Akerson, was paid $2.53M dollars in salary, stock awards, perks, etc.?  From the Detroit Free Press:

General Motors paid Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson $2.53 million in salary, stock awards and corporate perks in 2010, according to a filing Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission…

Akerson was named CEO of GM on Sept. 1, 2010, and was elected chairman on Jan. 1, 2011. He succeeded Edward Whitacre Jr., who retired as CEO last September. GM paid Whitacre $5 million last year.  Chris Liddell, former chief financial officer, was GM’s highest-paid executive in 2010, receiving $6.2 million in total compensation. Liddell resigned April 1 to pursue other opportunities. Stephen Girsky, vice chairman, received $3.7 million. GM paid non-executive members of its board of directors between $91,478 and $238,145 last year, according to the filing.

Akerson said last December that some key executives were leaving the automaker because of government-imposed pay restraints. Akerson’s compensation, which only covered four months of 2010, was less than one-tenth the $26.5-million package that Fordpaid CEO Alan Mulally last year.

For starters, I get that most people can’t even comprehend making this much money – so many will believe they are all over paid.  But it’s very telling when your major competition is paying same level positions – 10 times – what your organization is paying.  Money doesn’t mean everything – but when the difference is that great – Talent will follow the money!   Don’t give me the song and dance about “work environment” and “leadership” and “Orange Julious Thursday” – tell that to my kid who will be taking out loans to go to community college vs. all expense Daddy paid trip to NYU.  Money matters – and it matters more when their is such an imbalance.

Here’s my quick take on signs your being underpaid:

1. Most of your subordinates are driving cars you hang pictures of in your office.

2. You and Mary the receptionist are the only ones who bag your lunch to work.

3. For Bosses Day – your staff gets you cash.

4. When recruiters call you about jobs and ask your salary they laugh – out loud.

5. On vacation you stayed in a hotel that had an actual number in the title (Super 8, Motel 6…)

6. You have actually ran the numbers to see how close unemployment payments would be to your actual pay.

Remember, if you find yourself sitting in a small conference room having a conversation with your boss and a member of HR – and you’re hearing things like “there are more important things than money”, “we value your contribution here”, “you just can’t throw away 7 years with us” – your probably underpaid – and they’re trying to get out of paying you more.   Should you leave a great job and great company for a couple grand? No. Should you leave for $20K – well, I’m listening…

One thought on “Signs You’re Not Getting Paid Enough

  1. The worst was being in HR and feeling this way, then listening to my higher-ups give me the same speech I’d given a hundred times to other. I felt like I was reliving scenes from Michael Clayton — and I knew it was time for change.

    Comparison in compensation is pointless. Everyone will always feel underpaid. But when research and common sense tells you that you are underpaid, it’s time to make a change.

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