7 Signs You’re Being Underpaid

Posted February 14, 2019, by Kristina Mitic

As salary negotiations remain private, it can be difficult to know if you’re getting the right amount of money for your work. It is exceptionally harder for people new to the industry or the job market in general.

Here is a compiled list of some of the signs warning you that it might be time to ask for a rise.

1. You didn’t negotiate your initial salary

Typically, you first discuss a starting salary range in HR interviews. When a company is interested in hiring you it will send you a job offer, which specifies the salary amount. This is relative to how well you do in job interviews. 

If you accept the initial offer, chances are you’re underpaid. Most employers come up with mid-range offers first, but are ultimately flexible. Doing some negotiating comes in handy. Remember, this is when you’ll have the most bargaining power. 

2. Your position is better paid elsewhere

There are several ways to see if the work you’re doing pays better somewhere else. For instance, you can simply check Payscale – a website that shows you the average salary in different industries. Or simply check job ad sites and see what salary brackets similar roles lay in. 

You also have the option of checking with your friend that work in the same field. Provided you’re good enough at what you do, head-hunters could also be offering you more for the same type of role.

3. Newcomers are getting off to a better start

Sometimes it doesn’t pay off to be a senior employee. Staying with the same company for a longer period of time can mean that any rise you get is minimal and not really connected to market trends. However, when the company is looking for some new workers, it needs to offer a strong benefits package to attract them.

If the salary range for starter contracts hardly differs from yours, you need to talk to the management.  

4. The job description changed, but the pay stayed the same

This is very common (particularly in larger companies). As people start performing their current responsibilities better or someone has left, then most companies tack on tasks to your to-do list. This effectively changes the job description of the position, but the salary tends to stay the same.

It could also be that your job description is completely changed, but there is never any salary negotiation. More work and more responsibility should also mean more money – be sure to remind management about that.

5. There are no regular performance reviews

Nowadays, it’s very important for people to do work that matters. We’re all very careful when choosing our professions. A very significant question you can pose in a job interview is what your opportunities for personal growth are.

Most companies evaluate their worker’s efficiency through the reporting process. However, performance reviews should happen annually. They should provide an overview of how you’re doing in your position, including how you’ve grown.

Think of them as tangible proof you can use to ask for a rise. No performance reviews usually mean status quo. And in this case, that’s not really a good thing.

6. Management gives you the bump you wanted

While this may seem counterintuitive, if management is all too happy to give you the amount of money you asked for – you didn’t ask for enough.

In this case, wait a few months and ask for a bigger increase.

Management is all about effectiveness: the best quality for a minimum price. Be sure to remember that when you’re renegotiating your salary.

7. Your company has a high turnover rate

When employees are moving to other companies often, something’s rotten in the state of Denmark. That usually signals that other companies are able to offer more than yours. It’s a typical red light and one to look out for.

As a general rule, any place with the average length of employment of a year or under doesn’t pay well.

What to do when you catch the signs

First of all, make a game plan. Do your due diligence and figure out what figure you’d settle for. Look at online information and talk to friends who are in the same industry.

In order to convince your employer you deserve a rise make a list of your accomplishments. Showcase that your work has resulted in good things for the company. 

Then, schedule an appointment with the management and renegotiation can start!

Kristina Mitic

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