How unusual is it for managers to make less $ than the people they manage?

I have the impression it’s not at all unusual for departments employing individuals with competitive skills and/or those working on commission. Is that the case, in your experience? Or does it seem a reversal of the natural order of things?

And how do such managers feel about this situation?

It’s pretty commonplace in sports, and not unheard of in real estate.

common in all sorts of sales jobs.
also seems pretty common in the US automotive industry - low level managers are on salary versus union workers with overtime. someone with real knowledge can chime in.

Not sure just how common it is, but the pilots in my company probably earn more than most of the management staff.

I used to be a “Railtender”: selling wagon-lits coffee* and snacks in the Dutch trains, and I made really good tips each day, about 50 to 100 euro in tips**….in a country were tipping was not the norm, this next to my normal pay check, with shifts and even a small commission on sales made above a certain threshold.

I Know I made more money then the two management levels above me.

*really really bad coffee!, wagon-lits coffee for those not familiar with it…tastes like it was made out of beans found in bio-hazard container form the local VD clinic

** the railtenders who made the good tips all had a secret weapon, some had realy spectaculair breasts, some could work as male gigalo( and some did and actually picked up some their clients while selling coffee)…me: I projected a Bambi vibe, that made old people want to pat my head and give me something extra for my studies….

I make more money than my supervisor. Don’t know how common it is in general, but it’s not unheard of in federal government where civil servants and commissioned officers work side by side.

It was true at the auto parts supplier I once worked at. The foreman were typically business management majors just out of college and didn’t make much at all. The workers made much more due to being in the union and getting paid for OT. Originally it was a good promotion for a worker to be promoted to foreman, but over time the company decided it was better to get someone cheap over someone who had experience with the work.

Not uncommon.

I work for a company with employees spread all over the world - it isn’t unusually for your boss to be in Colorado while you work in Silicon Valley - just the COL difference is enough often.

It’s common in high-tech. It’s easier to find adequate managers than senior engineers with specific skills.

It’s extremely common to the point of being usual. Managers and other salaried employees often have less benefits too.

It happens in the contstruction industry, too.
Unionized workers’ hourly wage can be more than the salary of the engineer managing the project

Yeah, anyplace where skilled labor on wages intersects with lower-level salaried managers it can happen. Base managerial pay will usually be higher in such situations, but shift work, overtime and standby pay can swiftly reverse that.

At my job there is actually a minor financial disincentive to get promoted to the lowest level of management - in fact it is flat out the worst job in the department. This despite the fact that lower management is still on hourly wages ( due to covering 24 hr operations ). They just have fewer opportunities to work extra hours/standby and seniority rules can work against you as you bump to the next level. More stress for ( often ) less money. The only reason to do it is that it is generally a necessary prerequisite if you really want to climb the ladder to higher positions.

Our managers pay scale is much lower than our technical staff. My wife were both offered manager jobs here when we first started but found out about the differences before we accepted. So we both stayed techs.

This was not the case where we were last year, mangers made more which led us to consider the change.

I make more than my super. It is common in commission sales. We get a base pay that is not far from the super’s pay, then with commission, it is out of the ballpark.

It happens in IT sometimes. Project managers are technically the boss but they fill out spreadsheets and project plans and go to meetings. That isn’t a hard role to fill passably although good ones are hard to find. People with specific technical skills often work under them and make much more money. I have made more than my bosses a few times and sometimes that is true even a few levels up their chain. I would guess that the same is true for management like hospital administrators.

I make more than my bosses. I’m at the highest level of hourly wages employees (and I have a lot of seniority) and my bosses are at the lowest level of annual salary employees. They used to make more but over the years we’ve negotiated higher wages while their salaries have stayed relatively flat. If I took a promotion I would take a ten thousand dollar a year pay cut.

My stepson says it’s common in the restaurant business. He’s a waiter and makes more money than all the supervisors, except the general manager. The tips add up.

I think it’s more common now as companies are realizing that being promoted to management is not always the next logical step in all careers. Not everyone is cut out or even wants to manage others.

Also, managing people is a different skillset from being an expert in technology or sales or whatever. You’ve heard of the “Peter Principle” where “people are promoted to their level of incompetance”, right? That’s not exactly what that means. What it really means is that when people get promoted, the new job may require different skills which they might not have or be interested in. So while someone might make an excellent programmer, they might not make such a good project manager.

One way around this is to create a class structure in your organization, or separate career tracks for different types of jobs. In such an organization, technical workers don’t get promoted to management. They get promoted to higher levels of technical positions. Managers would be on their own track and so on.

As another example there are plenty of senior NCOs in the military who earn more than their superior officers.

Happened to me for about 3 weeks until my general manager raised enough of a fuss with the powers that be. Um, just realized that sounds like he wasn’t on my side. To clarify, I am a low level manager on an hourly wage, and due to some sort of paper work screw up the people under me got raises while I didn’t. My supervisor not only caught the discrepancy but did all the dirty work to get it rectified. He always swore if it were up to him he would double my wages, and now I truly believe him.

Merry Christmas, general manager. :slight_smile: