Productivity vs. Salaries: A Few Depressing Facts

Karolina Kulach
2 min readFeb 2


Photo credit: Karolina Kulach

Productivity vs. salaries: in this short post, you’ll learn a few happy-sad facts.

If you’re a productive top-performer, you’ll also learn what to do about it.

Productivity at work: facts and data

For starters, consider this stat.

Top performers are 400% more productive than average ones. This gap rises to 800% in the case of more complex jobs (McKinsey). ⏱

Let that fact sink in.

You can find it pretty depressing, especially if you’re objectively productive, and you start wondering:

Is this reflected in salaries?

Highly unlikely. At least in many cases in many organizations in the modern corporate world at this level of collective human consciousness.

Personally, I haven’t heard of 400–800% salary increases after 6–12 months. Approving this would probably be scandalous in most HR departments, and I’m not surprised.

Productivity vs. salaries: what does it mean for you?

Now: does it mean it pays off to be equally (un)productive as, let’s say, your lazy (in your opinion) colleague who always has so much on their plate but no time to finish the food?


Be at your best productive self (unless you choose not to, free will exists). And always do your job well.

Why? Because it can help you when you least expect it.

The truth is that there are a number of smart people in the corporate world who see much more than meets the eye.

Often they’re acute observers and:

  • Don’t buy empty promises, funny excuses, taking credit for someone else’s work, doublespeak, and corporate bs
  • May not always say things out loud (but when they do, their opinion counts)

If business leaders appreciate the quality of your work, they can help you:

✅ Advance in your current career

✅ Recommend you to others in the future

✅ Vote for you when cuts are just around the corner (we know layoffs are not a myth)

Plus, if others are wondering about what it is that you’re doing or why you can never finish anything on time, it’s always a red flag.

Productivity matters, your salary matters

Productivity matters. From your perspective, it doesn’t matter if others are productive.

You are your only competition. If you compare yourself to others on any level, life can be pretty hard.

That said, productivity may not be directly linked to your salary, but definitely to your self-respect and the respect of others.



Karolina Kulach

Non-fiction writer & content manager. Author of “The power of displacement”. Keen reality and people observer. Loves writing catchy, rhyming poems.