From the employer that I worked for for seven years, I got a bonus in the form of a $.25 cent raise after about a year, due to above average performance. I never saw a raise after that. What incensed me, was that I had been told that all persons in my category were hired at the same rate. I found out that several were being paid much more than me. When I brought up the subject, I was told a load of baloney about the type of cases that I was working. Pure snow job. The same case that I took over from a nurse, same insurance company, nothing different. She was being paid $4 an hour more than me. Now I moved to a different area, and the same company wants me to take a $2.25 pay cut. I told them, "You expect me to take a pay cut after 7 years, when the company is paying $4 to $7 more to people with the same type of license? I found out all this info by reading job listings on the internet. I'm now working for a company that is only paying me $.75 an hour more than the previous company, which is $3 an hr less than my best company. I don't think I'll be pushing to go back to the company that thinks I'm worth a pay cut.
The moral of this story: Pay raises and pay rates are often individualized and you won't know unless someone divulges that info to you. When your company tells you that everyone starts at the same rate and you find out that they pay someone hired after you $6 an hr more, then you know that you are being taken advantage of. The only way to get around this is to go to a union shop. And even there, you will find that they use ways to get around the pay scales. I saw it and was told by the HR person that they do it. So you have to be able to speak up for yourself. Both when you are hired, and a year later, when it is time for that first raise.