It really depends on the employer and their policies. I worked at a large university for years and they had a pretty rigid job grading and salary structure. You got placed in a grade, with a fairly wide assigned salary range, based on your job title and responsibilities. What you got paid, within that grade range, depended on your educational level, years of experience and the quality of your annual reviews. Someone with the required/preferred education would always make more than someone without it.
If your friend's company requires certain education for certain jobs, it might be big enough to have a formal structure like this as well, and, if so, she's probably out of luck because there are equity issues.
If she's at a smaller/less rigid company, the best she can do is ask for a raise (citing her stellar performance) and see how it goes.
Last edited by Canaqua; Oct. 31, 2012 at 12:23 PM.
Most companies will accept experience as a proxy for education. I suggest your friend make a list of her accomplishments in her position that meets the job description of administrator. She needs to stress all the positive things she does an will keep doing for the company. She needs to make a strong pitch to her boss. She should practice what she is going to say in advance with someone playing the devil's advocate. Then she should meet with her boss and ask for the promotion.
The biggest raises are generally associated with changing companies. A resume that shows a history of hopping from here to there looks bad, however.
Tell you friend to take on as much "extra" as possible within her position, and keep it all up to date on a resume. The more she does in the office and more folks depend on her, the more visibility she'll have. She can then either approach her boss for a raise or shop her resume elsewhere. Pay scales are often determined by HR, so it may not even be up to her boss to dictate pay consistent with what they think should be on her resume.
One of my co-workers in a similar position (super impressive resume!!... but no degree), and her direct boss won't authorize payment consistent with the position because she "doesn't have the education or experience", which is a load of crock. She did an internal transfer from a secretarial position into a technical one and should have seen her pay increase to same ballpark they were willing to pay a new hire. He's just using her lack of college degree as an excuse to keep his costs down. So there is that situation also that your friend could find herself up against.
A lot of companies are restricted from going outside the written requirements, as Canaqua says. It's protection against nepotism and putting a lover in a high position: objective qualifications such as a university degree simply must be met. Period.
For your friend, online education has come a long way since the old sham days. Her best bet (if her salary refusal is a result of company job requirement policies) is to complete the degree requirements at a reputable online university. Costs are coming down and many companies will either pay or help pay the cost of classes. Classes are accelerated, too, so she can do it in a timely fashion. If her company likes her & wants to keep her, it will only add to their esteem for her when she gets her degree.
Sorry, I just realized you said she's only going to be there a few more years. In that case, the company may very well not see fit to bump her up or pay for classes since there is no return on the investment for them. That's reality.
My ex worked in the nuclear field as an QC/QA assessor/auditor. When he retired from the utility after 25 years on the job and began consulting, he ran into this problem. He was very frustrated. I finally convinced him to go to our local community college and sit down with an advisor. Because of his experience on the job and within the nuclear field, he was actually able to challenge some courses and obtain credits... what courses were left of course he had to take, but in no time at all (less than a year) he had two associate degrees (one in engineering the other in power generation) and it was amazing what even an associate degree (or two) did for his hireability and earnings. Perhaps your friend could try this approach.
"I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."
Ah, I just re-read your post (thanks to Anne's comment) and noticed your friend is closing in on retirement. Is her skill set competitive with younger candidates? She may have the edge in terms of experience and wisdom, but it's an effort to keep up with technologies that today's grads have been using practically since pre-school. It might be in her interest to consider what skills she uses and how she might take those skills to the next level. If she's competent using Excel, for example, she might consider a course that could take her from competent to guru and boost her productivity. Retirement looming or not, if she can make herself indespensible, that is a good thing.
How about becoming an entrepreneur? Colonel Harland Sanders dropped out of school at age 12 and started his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise at age 65 after Interstate 75 caused his restaurant to fail because of lack of customers.
“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.”