If you think you’re underpaid, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that just 19% of North Americans feel comfortable with how much they’re making. And when asked how much of a raise they’d need to feel comfortable, 60% of respondents said they’d need a raise of at least $6,000.
Of course, feeling underpaid doesn’t actually mean you are underpaid. Maybe you’re making exactly what you’re worth, or even more than you’re worth. Maybe you’re totally deluded and, while you think you’re doing an amazing job, you’re actually underperforming and are lucky to have a job at all. (I don’t know your life.) Or your company might be paying you what they can currently afford, which doesn’t mean you’re not underpaid but might mean you have to go elsewhere for more money.
This should help you figure it out. Six indicators that you are underpaid.
You haven’t had a raise in over a year. Not receiving a raise isn’t a sure sign that you’re underpaid. Many companies offer regular yearly raises, but not all. Wage increases are purely at your employer’s discretion and there’s no law that says you’re guaranteed one just for showing up over any specific period of time (contrary to what some people think). But if you believe that you have earned a raise and are not getting one, then this is something to consider.
Your responsibilities have increased but your pay hasn’t. If you’ve taken on a lot of new responsibilities and you’re not getting more money, something might be amiss.
You find jobs listed for positions similar to yours with higher salaries. Most jobs don’t list salaries, but they might list ranges. If you can get this information and the listing are consistently higher than what you’re earning, that’s a pretty good indicator that you could be earning more.
Your salary is below market value. You can find salaries for pretty much any job listed on Payscale, Glassdoor, Jobbank.gc.ca, and salary.com. These will tell you the average market value for your job across locations. If they all list higher pay, maybe you should be making more.
You know a bunch of people doing similar jobs to yours for more money. You might not be able to get salary information out of your coworkers. But you might be able to get it out of your friends and others in your network. Find out what other people are being paid for jobs like yours.
People are banging on your door to offer you better pay. Are recruiters contacting you regarding higher paying positions? If people are regularly coming to you with offers of amazing gigs and telling you about all the jobs you could have with higher earnings, what are you waiting for? Apply for those jobs.
On the other hand, if nobody is willing to pay you more than what you’re currently making, including your current boss or anyone else, you might not be underpaid.
It can’t hurt to do some research. And if you find out that you do deserve more money, well then go out there and get it. You deserve it after all. Maybe…