A court case is currently underway in St. Louis regarding fair pay for a former employee of Anheuser-Busch. The plaintiff contends that her pay was less than it should’ve been. Her claim is based mainly on a higher compensation amount received by her predecessor.
Was she paid less because she is a woman? Was she paid less because her job description was different from that of her predecessor? Was she paid less because hers was not a position that led directly to revenue generation? Was her gender a factor in her getting hired in the first place? Whatever the outcome, the case has generated much discussion locally.
I have always contended that you (or I) as employees are worth as much as we can get someone to pay us. Is a pro jock really worth 5, 10 or 20 million per season? If he (or his agent) can convince an owner to pay him that much, the answer is yes.
If I can convince an employer or a client that my work for him or her is worth a certain fee per month, then I am worth that amount—until that employer or client chooses to end the arrangement.
As long as you or I continue to provide value for the amount we are receiving (in the judgment of those we work for), then we are worth that amount. Fortunately, most of the people I have worked for in my professional life have found my services to be of value.
Are you (or I) worth more than we are being paid now? The best way to find out is to test the market. Is it worth risking current business relationships/employment situations to track down new and different opportunities? That may be hard to answer. But as the economy improves, and business needs are reassessed, it’s wise to keep your options open.