Earlier this week I received via e-mail an Excel file that I needed for a project that I am working on. When I opened the Excel, I noticed that it contained many more tabs than I was expecting, and one of those tabs listed the salaries of EVERYONE in my company, including every executive and the CEO.
Could you resist taking a look? I couldn't. Here is what I found out: I am the lowest paid executive in the company, which is not surprising given that this is my first executive position. What surprised me was the fact that the difference between my pay and that of the highest paid executives (other than the CEO) was fairly small - about 25%. Interesting.
I also found out that some of the engineers in the company make about the same salary that I make. Once again, this does not surprise or dismay me. Some of these guys are very, very experienced and fill positions that are in extremely high demand. The only discovery that really surprised me was that a particular individual - who the CEO last week proposed to add to my team - is making more than me. If he does end up on my team, and I would officially be told his compensation package, I wonder how the CEO is going to explain the fact that one of my team members is more highly paid than me.
The real benefit of getting this information is the fact that per my employment conditions my salary will be reviewed in 5 months from now. I now know exactly what compensation I should be negotiating for. If you are about to ask for a raise or enter into salary negotiations, and do not gain such serendipitous access to internal documents, check out this post about how to find out what your market value is.
Do you think I crossed an ethical line by looking at the document?