According to an article by Harvard Business Review, “people are often wrong about how much they’re paid compared to the going market rate.” However, it’s not really the salary number itself that’s important, according to the article. It’s the perception of fairness. In fact, “how people feel about their [salary] deal plays a huge role in how engaged they are in their work.”
And, it makes sense. If you go to work every day and work hard, but you feel underpaid, resentment might sneak in. You might not want to stay an extra hour and work late finishing a project. You might not want to take the time to bring in new clients once you’ve met your quota. Pay drastically influences the way we feel about heading to work every day. Maybe it shouldn’t be that way, but it is for a lot of people.
So, if you feel underpaid, how can you find out if you actually are? After all, just because you might feel overworked and underpaid doesn’t mean that’s the case.
Check out the options below to find out.
Do Online Research
Technology saves us once again. You can now use the internet to do detailed research about your salary. Salary.com is a great place to start. When you get to the homepage, simply put in your job title and your location, and the website will give you what someone with your job typically earns in your area.
If you’re interested, you can also research your position in different areas of the country just to see how much people in other geographic locations get paid with similar job titles.
Glassdoor.com is another good resource. You can use their Know Your Worth tool, which uses data from millions of jobs across the country to let you know how you stack up against others with your skillset.
It’s probably no surprise, but millennials like to overshare. In fact, according to a recent survey, “63% of millennials ages 18-36 have shared their salaries with an immediate family member, 48% have shared with friends, and 30% have even shared with co-workers.”
So, research your peers, and have a heart-to-heart conversation about salary with them.
This type of open dialogue in the workplace can help in many ways. First, it lets you know where you stand or what you can earn when you reach seniority at your workplace. The downside would be finding out that you’re underpaid, but this will give you fuel to find out why.
Did you fail to negotiate when your boss hired you? Is it because of your experience, lack of a graduate degree or some other factor?
It’s never fun to find out you’re getting paid less than your co-workers, but you’ll never know how to improve your income unless you ask.
Connect with Recruiters
Recruiters work on behalf of companies to try to acquire the very best talent. They are sometimes called headhunters, and if you’ve worked for a few years, one of them might have contacted you already (usually on LinkedIn these days.)
Instead of ignoring their requests or telling them you’d rather stay at your current job, try engaging them. Ask them about the job they’re trying to fill. Ask about pay. Talk to them about your current job and what your salary is there. Recruiters have an intimate knowledge of the industry they’re in, and they can help you discover whether or not you’re being underpaid.
What to Do if You Are, in Fact, Underpaid
If you realize after completing the steps above that you are, in fact, underpaid, you certainly have options.
Make an appointment with your boss. It’s very important that you’re not upset when you meet. Consider it more like a discovery meeting. You shouldn’t go in there with an accusatory tone. Really, you’re just presenting the information you’ve gathered. Show them that you’ve done market research, talked to a recruiter, or spoken with co-workers, and that you feel your salary doesn’t match your experience.
During this meeting you can either ask what you can do to earn a raise in the future or go ahead and ask for a raise in the meeting. If you choose the second option, give your reasons why you’ve earned one (make sure you avoid these mistakes when asking for one.)
Remember, keep an open mind and a positive attitude. As long as you’re willing to make changes or discuss your income with your boss in a productive way, you can get the raise you’ve earned.
When it comes to money and the workplace? What concerns are on your mind? Let us know in the comments below!
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