Have you recently been wondering ‘Am I underpaid?’. With the prices sky-rocketing everywhere it is definitely a good time to have a look at your paycheck and review if your work should be worth more.
Underpayment is a common issue faced by employees, where they are paid less than what they are entitled to, or what is fair and reasonable for their role and experience. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as not fully understanding their rights and entitlements, not negotiating their salary correctly, or due to employer negligence or exploitation. But how can you tell? Here are three surprising signs to watch out for.
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1. Your colleagues go on WAY more holidays than you
I remember when I got my first job out of University, I was so excited! The pay I received was way more than I expected and everything was peachy.
That was until I started noticing the little things. My colleagues were always dressed in good brands. They had families, yet they traveled on expensive holidays and did it multiple times a year. Their lifestyle was definitely expensive, yet I barely could afford my little studio flat.
2. You’ve been in your role for a while, yet you never had a significant pay increase
In recent years, the average paycheck has increased. If you were job hopping, you should be ahead of the curve, but if you stayed in the same role and never got a significant pay rise, chances are you are underpaid. Even though, the job market moves, companies rarely adjust the pay for tenured employees. If you have been in a role longer than 12 months, this is your sign to check the market and make sure you are paid for what you are worth.
3. You are a woman
Or an LGBTQ+, Person of Color, Transgender Woman or Man, Cisgender Woman, and/or Non-Binary Individual – pretty much as long as you are not a white straight male – chances are you are being underpaid.
What to do if you’re underpaid
If you noticed any of the above signs, what can you do? Can you find out the exact amount you underpaid and get your pay increased? Here is what to do:
Know Your Market Value
The first step in determining if you’re underpaid is to know your market value. Your market value is the amount you can expect to be paid based on your skills, experience, and qualifications in the current job market. There are a number of resources available to help you determine your market value.
Salary calculators: Online salary calculators, such as Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth, can help you determine your market value based on your location, job title, and experience. Simply enter your information and the calculator will provide you with an estimated salary range for your job in your area.
Industry reports: Industry reports, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Employment and Wages report in the US or various salary report created by Hays or Reed in the UK, can give you a good idea of what the average salary is for your job in your area.
Networking: Talking to others in your industry and networking with individuals in similar positions can be a valuable way to gather information about typical salaries for your job. Just be sure to keep your conversations confidential, as you don’t want to damage any existing relationships.
By knowing your market value, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not you’re being paid fairly. If your salary falls significantly below the market value for your job, it’s a good indication that you’re underpaid.
Compare Your Compensation to Your Peers
Another way to determine if you’re underpaid is to compare your compensation to your peers. This means looking at the salaries of individuals who have similar job titles, responsibilities, and experience levels to you. You can find this information by:
Talking to colleagues: In many companies talking to your peers about salary is considered taboo, however, you do have a legal right to discuss your salary if you believe you are being underpaid. If you don’t feel confident having this conversation, this guide will give you scripts on how to handle conversations with your colleagues about salaries.
Have a candid conversation with your boss: If you have a good relationship with your boss, you might be able to have a candid conversation with them and ask if they believe that you are fairly compensated for your role. Bonus points: it is a great way to start negotiating an increase.
Some people advise having a conversation with your HR team and depending on your company, this might be a good route to follow, but I would always advise goign to your boss first. Even if you are going to tell them that you will pursue this conversation with HR, your boss should be given a heads up that this conversation will take place.
Comparing your compensation to your peers will give you a better idea of whether or not you’re being paid fairly. If you find that you’re significantly below the average salary for your role, it may be time to consider asking for a raise.
Assess Your Performance and Contributions
Finally, it’s important to assess your performance and contributions to determine if you’re underpaid. Take a look at your job responsibilities, accomplishments, and contributions to the company. Consider factors such as:
Job responsibilities: Are your responsibilities aligned with your job title and role? Have they increased over time?
Accomplishments: What have you achieved in your role over the past year? Have you taken on new responsibilities or exceeded expectations?
Contributions to the company: How have you helped the company grow and succeed? Have you saved the company money or increased revenue?
If you’re doing more than what’s listed in your job description or you have skills that are highly valued in your industry, it may be time to ask for a raise. If you’re not sure how to approach your boss about a raise, check out my ‘How to ask for a pay rise’ guide. This guide provides tips and strategies for successfully negotiating a higher salary.
In conclusion, determining whether or not you’re being underpaid can be difficult, but there are several steps you can take to find out. Whether you research industry standards, compare your salary to your colleagues’ salaries or evaluate your responsibilities and skills, there are many ways to determine if you’re earning what you’re worth. If you find that you’re being underpaid, don’t be afraid to ask for a raise – it could be the first step towards a brighter financial future.
Remember to grab this FREE checklist ‘7 Steps to negotiating the biggest pay rise of your career‘. Find out the exact steps you need to take to quickly increase your paycheck. GET IT NOW!
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