What Your Coworkers Earn Doesn’t Really Matter

Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX
Published in
6 min readJan 27, 2024

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Whilst discussing salary helps, doing interviews and getting offers from other companies is the only real way to get a decent pay rise.

“Image generated using OpenAI’s DALL·E.”

Although us progressive software engineers frequently discuss our salaries, commonly under threat of the rather frighteningly sounding “disciplinary action” from Human Resources, we regularly do so in order that we can go into a performance review round with a united front when it comes to getting a decent, if pretty much always below market rate, pay rise at the end of each review charade.

This, unfortunately, doesn’t usually tend to count for much as everyone is usually underpaid (especially if they’ve been there a few years and had their pay eroded in the usual way) and it’s very difficult to press for a specific rise without mentioning that you know how much everyone else is earning (as you’re not supposed to know) — it’s more of a group effort than a solo escapade.

Think of a rising tide lifting all boats, as it were, rather than your boat being raised to a specific level.

The more I write this, the more ridiculous the whole process sounds and I’m beginning to understand why companies really hate to talk about “compensation” and very especially really hate talking about compensation (i.e. cash) when it comes to pay rises as a result of performance…

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Dr Stuart Woolley
CodeX

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, X, and Overwatch fan.