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Isn't "Low-paying enterprises frequently outperform their bloated bureaucratic competitors who spend more on everything" just so true! Really interesting thoughts here, thanks.

Not all compensation jingles, as I always say, Greg. Spending more doesn't automatically create a superior culture, offer more career prospects or inspire engagement. Since that is hard for some comp people to remember, it is worthy of an occasional reminder.

"People are hypersensitive to personal underpayment (noted at the 90% felt-fair level) but rationalize high pay to themselves as appropriate (pay must reach 120% of felt-fair level before behavior changes)."

That's the first time I've seen these figures - can you point me towards some more information on this subject? Thanks.

Iola: See the link at the bottom of this earlier article http://www.compensationcafe.com/2012/08/what-is-fair-pay.html referencing the studies of Elliott Jaques. Look for his findings on "felt-fair perception thresholds." It is a fascinating topic, supported by the more current research by Dan Airely, PhD, of "Predictably Irrational" fame, among his other books on behavioral economics.

Is this what Compensation Cafe is turning into? It was once a forum for thought leadership and serious discussion about on total rewards. It seems to be morphing into Fox News! Of course people feel they deserve more. Lets face it, we all do. Does the author seriously believe that Rewards professionals should respond in this fashion when profits are indeed rising rapidly and salaries in North America are falling behind?

There are those who are undervalued and underpaid but I believe this discussion is focused on the total rewards fact that money alone doesn't buy happiness and is just one line item on the employee's (or individual's) satisfaction ranking as part of Maslow's hierarchy. Money doesn't automatically make employees perform better - and that is supposed to be one of its purposes.

Theories abound about what the magic number to be paid is and of course it varies per person, per geography, per needs. Is it the $70k -$80k mark we have heard about recently? Maybe, if you are single and living in North or South Dakota but probably not for a family of 5 in a place like California.

I don't believe everyone wishes for more money but they might prefer more scheduling flexibility, more perks, more time off.

If profits are increasing does that mean companies should automatically increase salaries which impact long term results? (See today's blog for the Finance guy's opinion I suspect on that.)

Can we create a more balanced approach to the haves and have nots? Probably, but for that we need to change the cultural mindset from "give me what I think I am worth" or "give me what that guy is getting because it isn't fair I am paid less" to "give me what I need" to live a reasonable, comfortable lifestyle. That includes the common conveniences of today with education, travel and life experiences. Of course this dream would change the world of compensation.

I don't advocate the same pay for every job but I think how we value them is part of the issue.

What would happen if the garbage collector made more than an athlete? If the teacher made more than the principal? Would we see a change in performance and/or career path chosen?

While Nancy whiffed, Karen nailed it. Nancy should review my past articles to confirm that I am much more sensitive to the various economic disparities than she suggests. A sincere attempt to encourage the recognition that total rewards encompass more than cash alone should not be confused with callous indifference to pay inequities.

No hard feelings, because this is a caffeinated conversation spot. Stay excited. Intellectual stimulation is the entire idea!

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