This is the same in the British workplace. I see it time and time again, intelligent, hardworking people are kept at a low salary and low hierarchical level while those that ‘fit in’ but who are almost always incompetent to the point of madness are promoted. This means they get more money and status. By extension, they are better able to take care of their families, enjoy a higher standard of living and have the regard of many. Meanwhile, those who are at the coalface making intelligent decisions and effecting positive change are kept on lower salaries and not given any regard.
If this is you, I advise you to leave your job as soon as is feasible and either go into business for yourself or go to work for a decent company – there are some, often large multi-nationals. It is of no use to stay at companies who operate like this – they will kill your spirit.