Know Your Worth: Are You Being Paid Fairly?
15th December 2021
With all the personal finance advice out there, one thing that’s commonly overlooked is the career check in. We treat our income as a fixed number on the budget, when in reality, you can take actions to help it grow. Every now and then, you should make a conscious effort to assess your worth (tough, we know!) and think about whether or not your pay is right for the value you bring.
Sometimes it can be hard to believe you’re worth more than you think, especially when it comes to work-life, and fighting your own corner. If this sounds like you, this guide will provide you with the strategies you need to really know your worth, ensure that you’re being paid enough, and how you can stand up for yourself if or when you need to.
How to check to see if you’re underpaid
Realising you’re being underpaid at work can be demoralising, and downright frustrating sometimes, especially if you feel like you deserve more. There are a variety of ways you can figure out if you’re owed more, including if:
You’ve been entrusted with more responsibilities
Has your employer been trusting you with new responsibilities outside of your job role? If you notice you’ve been going the extra mile and undertaking further work for the same wage, it’s a big warning sign that you’re being underpaid. The bottom line is if your boss is requiring more from you than what you’re contracted to do, they should be matching your extra efforts with a pay rise.
You haven’t had a pay rise in a long time
Have you reached a point in your current job role where you feel there’s nowhere else for you to go? You’ve already achieved everything possible within your position, so you’ve been taking on more work for more experience, but you still haven’t received any recognition?
While raises aren’t a legal requirement, in reputable companies it’s typically common practice for managers to hold annual review meetings with their employees. These meetings provide you with an opportunity to discuss and negotiate pay rises. However, if your manager has been avoiding scheduling one in, or your last meeting didn’t touch upon a raise, chances are you could be underpaid.
Other jobs offer more money
Does your friend do the exact same job role as you at a different company but their salary is significantly higher than yours? Alarm bells! Be sure to compare your salary against others in similar roles using sites such as Glassdoor.
If your current pay really doesn’t match up, it’s probably maybe time to schedule a meeting with your boss and ask to be paid a fairer amount, or say goodbye to your current company and hello to the same job role at another with higher wages.
Side note: money isn’t everything
Money - or financial benefits - aren’t everything, and shouldn’t always be the deciding factor. Depending on your priorities, you may value other aspects of your job more such as work-life balance, personal growth, professional development and of course, the big one: happiness. Ask yourself some questions about your job fulfilment - are you happy? Are you working towards something specific that you care about? Are you comfortable with the progression at your current job?
How to ask for a raise
If you do decide to ask for a raise, it’s likely the idea of it makes you uncomfortable or anxious. If so, here’s how to start hatch a worry-free, well-thought-out plan to get the raise you deserve:
Do your research
Before scheduling a meeting with your manager, you’ll need to be clear on the going rate for your role - again, check Glassdoor. If you’re not, you won’t know how much you can feasibly request. If you find that the industry average wage is higher than your current one, you are perfectly within your rights to bring this information into your raise meeting.
Show your worth
While it’s easy (for some) to ask for a raise, you also need to be able to prove that you deserve it. In order to show your worth, ask yourself the following questions before scheduling your meeting:
Do you go above and beyond the responsibilities in your current contract?
Do you provide greater value than your colleagues who are being paid the same or more as you? (But be careful comparing yourself)
Have you been taking on extra responsibilities that warrant a pay rise?
Can you prove your pay rise is an investment for the company?
Negotiating the raises you deserve
When it comes to delivering your case, you’ll need to be well versed in the act of negotiations. Sometimes, managers will try to challenge you to avoid increasing your salary, so it’s important that you take control and have a detailed agenda for the meeting.
To effectively negotiate for the raise you believe you deserve, follow these tips:
Know your worth and be brave.
Ask for more money than you expect to get - typically 10-20% more than your current wage. Don’t be afraid to ‘go big’ when asking - whilst you may not be awarded the top bracket, you’ll probably receive more than you expected.
Give an exact number. As well as asking for 10-20%, it’s also wise to present your manager with a definitive amount. Using a precise number in the negotiation process will increase your chances of the final offer being closer to your request.
Ask for a Thursday meeting. Psychology Today suggests that managers are more ‘open to negotiation’ on a Thursday or Friday in comparison to earlier on in the week. This is due to people becoming more compassionate as the week wears on.
Never second guess yourself
When you know your worth, you’ll never second guess yourself. If you know you need to be paid more, this self-assurance will present itself in your body language and speech, and prove to your manager that not only do you have the confidence to ask for a raise, but you also have confidence within yourself and your abilities. This is only ever a good trait when it comes to your career.
Don’t be afraid to leave
Just like never second-guessing yourself, when you know your worth, you’re not afraid to make the decision to leave. A person who is sure of themselves will have no qualms taking their skills elsewhere, as they know that they are a valued individual that can bring something great to the table.
If you know you deserve to be paid more and want to start 2022 with a salary that equates to your abilities, don’t be afraid to take off and head somewhere where you know you'll be appreciated.
Whatever you decide: good luck!