Viewpoint: Your Career Q&A: Follow the Money?

By Martin Yate Apr 12, 2016
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resumewritingservices.knockemdead-233x300.jpgThis week’s column delves into how much pay you can expect in your HR career. Best-selling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. Contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.

I am an HR manager for a large food distributor with locations throughout the U.S. I reside in the state of Florida, and I am the sole HR manager at my location, which employs 140 associates. I have two direct reports, a safety manager and a receptionist. I am responsible for hiring, firing, recruitment, associate engagement, payroll, associate relations issues and benefits. I spend about 15 percent of my day coaching those associates who find themselves on performance improvement plans, which I will write (along with the manager). In addition, I am a part of the senior leadership team reporting directly to the president of the company.

My concern is my pay. I have not hit the $70,000 threshold, while other department managers have come in and were able to negotiate a salary of $5,000-$10,000 more than I make. In the state of Florida, coupled with my responsibilities, what is a fair salary that I should negotiate at performance review time? 

Thank you for your consideration.

Here are four premier salary calculators that will help establish norms for your job and location:


If you are not being paid a level comparable with your professional peers, it could be related to a number of issues. If I were in your situation, I would evaluate two factors:

  1. My performance. Are the metrics under my control performing on par with those of other business units?
  2. My ability to communicate competence and achievement. Does my manager understand the problems I solve and catastrophes I keep off his desk?

These are both evaluations that demand objectivity and that can be difficult for us to achieve when we evaluate ourselves. These are both areas where every one of us can probably improve a little here and there. The degree to which improvement is possible will determine your plans going forward.

However, in widely dispersed companies, it is easy to become categorized, stereotyped and pigeonholed, especially when your operation runs smoothly and you are not adept at managing upward from a distance.

If the situation cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, there is always the option of a fresh start with another company—being underpaid for performance is a valid reason for leaving, and you will know in advance that you may need to manage upward communications differently.

Have a question for Martin about advancing or managing your career? From big issues to small, please feel free to e-mail your queries to We’ll only publish your first name and city, unless you prefer to remain anonymous—just let us know. 

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