What a difference a year makes
First job after graduation
  2006 $ 2005 $
All students 88,087 81,658
Women 86,805 81,962
Men 94,710 89,933
5 years after graduation
  2006 $ 2005 $
All students 167,052 156,753
Women 156,290 155,909
Men 191,541 184,352
Secret 1: Your pay doesn't necessarily reflect performance and seniority
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.)
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