Are You Paid Enough

Friday, March 14, 2014

Are you making as much money as you should be? That is a question we frequently ask ourselves. A 2006 survey carried out in the US found that 39 percent of employees surveyed believe their salary is lower than market rates.

Are you making as much money as you should be? That is a question we frequently ask ourselves. A 2006 survey carried out in the US found that 39 percent of employees surveyed believe their salary is lower than market rates.

So how do you figure out if you're really underpaid? Here are six steps to help you determine whether you're getting what you feel you are worth.

1. Use available resources 
By searching on line for ‘salary surveys’ or ‘personal salary guides’ you will find links to many useful sites. Most of the large online recruiters have information on salary levels. In addition, many trade associations conduct salary surveys, which tend to go into greater detail for your specific occupation.

2. Keep your ear to the ground 
Even if you are not looking for another job at this time being alert to salary levels mentioned in job adverts or making general enquiries with firms that are advertising for positions, will give you a rough idea as to what is available elsewhere. By staying proactive you will get an idea of the skills that employers are seeking and what other employers are offering. Even if you are not thinking about moving jobs an awareness of what the market is offering for your skills and experience is vital if you are going to negotiate a raise within your current company.

3. Develop contacts with Recruiters 
Developing a relationship with one or two recruiters, even if you aren't seeking a job, is a great way to stay on top of the job market. There is a word of caution with this one, as in some industries and particularly in more senior positions, it doesn’t do your reputation any good to be seen as someone constantly looking for the next move. The implication being that you may not be fully focused on your current role.

4. Talk with your predecessor 
If you know of other people doing similar work to you, within your organisation or elsewhere, try to get an idea of their salary levels. If you know your predecessor, then even better. If he or she doesn’t want to disclose their salary, and it is a sensitive area, they may give you some insight into how fairly he or she thinks they were paid when they were doing the role you are now doing.

5. Recall your hiring circumstances 
What discussion took place about salary levels when you were hired? Sometimes at an interview not only will current salary be discussed but also the process behind potential future increases and bonuses. Has your employer made commitments that they are not following through on? Remember when negotiating salary, rarely do employers make their best offer upfront. Never be afraid to ask for more. But remember of course that you need to be able to show how you are adding value to the business. For more tips on how to 'Ask for a pay rise' follow this link.

6. Is pay really the issue? 
Finally, take a moment and examine why you feel you're underpaid. From my experience of working with many clients in this area, most of the time the issue goes beyond money. When someone is unhappy at work they seek additional compensation (more money) for having to endure a pressurised or unpleasant working environment. Similarly if someone doesn’t feel valued or appreciated they will seek more money in lieu of the lack of recognition.

Lastly, if you are in the wrong job, then no amount of money will make you happy. You have a bigger decision to make.

James Sweetman is the author of Graduate to Success and is a leading authority on Peak Performance. If you are ready to step into your potential, visit www.jamessweetman.com.