What to Do if You Think You’re Underpaid?

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Wanting more out of your career is a natural feeling. Money may not always be as big a concern as what you want to achieve. But even if you have a comfortable financial cushion, you probably won’t like finding out that you are underpaid. Feeling underpaid is one of the most demoralizing and disheartening situations you can encounter in the professional world. But how do you know you are making less than you should be? Read on to learn about signs that could indicate you are underpaid and what you can do about it. 

Here’s How To Fix Being Underpaid And How to Find Out 

For many people, it means you are getting paid a lot less than what you should be making as fair compensation. For others, it can even progress to the perception that their employer does not value them. In the 21st Century, pay transparency is gaining traction. Everyone, from employees to HR professionals, to a local staffing agency, understands how transparency helps businesses. That means there are more ways to spot instances of being underpaid. 

Once you know that you are indeed underpaid, the best thing you can do for yourself is to ask for a fair raise. But that is easier said than done. Many circumstances and variables could have contributed to this outcome. And unless you narrow down the core reasons, it could be harder for you to defend your position. But once you know the following signs, you can present a stronger and more reasoned case that would have a greater chance of success: 

Look for Internal Job Listings Offering Higher Pay 

There are many places to check for signs that you could be making less than what you should be. One of the easiest ones is to head over to the Careers section on your company website. Businesses these days list salary ranges along with what they require from candidates on job adverts. Look for positions similar to yours in terms of experience, age, and compensation. This should help you get an idea of what your employer is willing to offer for the role, and how your compensation compares to it. 

Check if Your Income Growth Reflects Revenue Increase 

One sign that you could be underpaid is if your company continues to grow but your income does not see much growth or even none at all. As an employee, a big reason for showing up to work is to contribute to the company’s success. And since workers like you do that every day, it is only fair that when the company succeeds, so should you.  

However, certain employers may not always be as rewarding or even as fair as one would expect. Compare your employer’s profits over the term of your employment with the bumps in your income you received. If the comparable increase is too low, you could have a case of being underpaid. 

See if You Started at a Below-Market Salary  

Go back to your first professional job. Did you sign up during a time of economic upheaval? Were you too inexperienced to negotiate well with a recruiter? Starting out at pay below the market rate is not unheard of. In fact, it is fairly common. When you start out at significantly lower pay than you should have, you can feel the impact for years to come. Many new employers will offer you a better income than a current one. But if you already earned a lower income going into your first job, the ceiling is that much lower at the next one. And so on.  

Discreetly Compare Your Compensation with Colleagues 

Asking someone about how much they make can often seem indelicate. And in certain cases, most employers restrict such discussions among colleagues. But you could still get a rough idea of where you stand by discussing pay ranges among your colleagues. This should help you get a feel of what people doing the same work as you are making. And comparing experience should help you determine whether your own pay is fair.  

Check How Your Benefits Compare to Your Peers 

It’s not just about the salary you make. Benefits like medical insurance, 401k accounts, retirement packages, bonuses, company vehicles and so forth also count for a lot. When discussing remuneration with your colleagues, inquire about benefits as well. You could be making the same salary, but have a far lower benefits plan than anyone else.  

Look for National and Local Labor Statistics  

Most governments and research organizations publish statistics about labor. The US Department of Labor, for instance, has a Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the same may not be true of every country in the world. You should still try and look for local or national statistics that apply to you. National income averages can help you determine whether you make as much as you should. 

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