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Jim, are you suggesting that "experienced" workers should be paid more because of their tenure? Isn't pay relative to results?

If I have a new employee that is consistently out-performing an "experienced" worker, shouldn't the newer better one be paid more or be making quick strides to close the pay gap?

If you are not rewarding your consistent high achievers you risk losing them to your competitors. Experience without results should not get rewarded.

Are you assuming experience correlates to results?


No, Trevor. I noted that there are strong preferences at many if not most enterprises against curtailing the compounding of senior salaries. They are wrong. I completely agree with the concept in your central paragraphs. Under those conditions, newbie pay should accelerate relative to the old-timer's.

Unfortunately, employers find it much easier to accurately measure individual experience than the quality of their output results. So we get stuck with compensation issues created by people who presume that experience guarantees greater value. They rarely try to compare results, in all senses.

Such challenges are open invitations to iatrogenic solutions: the fix creates more problems than the original issue. What messy fixes have you seen?

Thank you Jim.

I recently posted elsewhere an updated version of a starter list of some of my ‘favorites’, originally under the title “Absolutely Bonkers Compensation Designs: Examples of Fatally-Flawed Gambles, Histrionics, and Idiocy, in the pursuit of (distributive, procedural, and other…) ‘Justice’.... (ABCDEFGHIJ...).” See https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-pay-people-absolutely-bonkers-compensation-e-k-?trk=mp-author-card

That posting included the following to which many in North America (and other jurisdictions) can relate:
In many public school systems the primary drivers of pay for teachers are teacher education levels and teacher experience. It is no surprise that those school systems have some of the most highly educated workforces, AND the most senior, stable and / or tenured ones anywhere. This is the case even when many of the students in the school of these 'highly qualified' teachers continue to experience declining and deplorable levels of STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. Yet improved STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT is the real reason for the very existence of public schools. To make matters worse pay budgets in such school systems keep rising higher as a percentage of overall budgets leaving increasingly little for anything else.

Wonderful example there, E.K.! Education is indeed a field filled with pitfalls. Dysfunctional behaviors reign in academia, where employee interests always come first, at the sacrifice of their supposed intended mission outcomes. Sadly, those dedicated to student improvement frequently burn out against the inexorable institutional resistance they confront.

Your consistently highly articulate pointed observations are greatly appreciated.

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