While fair and equitable pay may be your company's aim, the goal post keeps shifting.
Managers will pay what the market demands to get the right candidate. So in a tight job market the starting salary of a new hire at your level may come close to or even match yours, despite your seniority and institutional knowledge.
Some companies are proactive about performing an equity analysis on a regular basis and correcting for the problem. If they discover that the gap between your pay and the newer hires isn't wide enough, they may give you a larger bump in salary than the usual merit increase.
But many are not proactive and won't take action unless they get a complaint from old faithful.
What you should do: Keep abreast of the going rate for people with your experience and education, especially if you were hired in a down market.
If you notice a discrepancy, said Dallas-based compensation consultant Rebecca Elkins, tell your boss, "I'm aware of this and am wondering what can be done to bring me up to market?"
(See Myth 1 to find out about surveys that can help you gauge the going rate for your position.)