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Why is my base so much lower than the former sales manager's?

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Q. I was hired by a software company at an entry-level sales position. I have a four-year degree and sales experience.

I was brought on board at a salary of $27,000 per year, plus a monthly bonus. After my first week on the job, I was moved from an inside sales position to a regional sales manager position with no increase in pay.

I've been in this position for three months, and I have had to learn everything on the fly. I've maintained my territory with flying colors, and have increased sales from last year's numbers. Coworkers have told me the man I replaced was making $73,000, with no four-year degree. What should I do?

A. It's never a good idea to compare yourself with a former employee, because you don't know what experience he brought to the job. The previous incumbent's salary may not explain the level of expectations the company had of him. The only thing you really know is what experience and skill sets you bring to the job. Your objective is to get as much as possible for those skills.

Nevertheless, it's frustrating to know the person who held your position before you was paid more than you.

Ask your supervisor to establish a performance plan for you. This will force the manager to establish the expectations for the position. Once you and your supervisor have agreed on your performance objectives, you can research the appropriate salary for the position on

It is also important to consider total cash compensation when evaluating the pay of any sales position. You earn a base salary of $27,000, and you earn a monthly bonus. The total of base pay plus bonuses is the more important number for you to establish when you research compensation for your job. So while your base is low, your objective is to get competitive total cash compensation.

Good luck.

- Erisa Ojimba, Certified Compensation Professional

Jan 2007
Employmentexperiencesalarysales position

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