A Fair Day's Wages



Author: Michael Scaletti


Hopefully you like what you do for work. If it brings you satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment that's great as well. Ideally you will also like the people you work with and feel valued by the people you work for. All of these things are important, but the bottom line is people work for a paycheck. Ask yourself this. If your job didn't pay you, would you still be doing it? I'd be willing to bet that the answer is no.


If one of the main motivations for doing your job is the paycheck, then, it is worthwhile to make sure you being compensated fairly and appropriately for the work that you are doing. Obviously, money isn't everything, and there are a plethora of reasons that you might take a job that pays a bit less over one that pays a bit more, but at the end of the day, fair compensation should be an expectation. So how do you figure out if you are being compensated fairly? Here are some signs you're being underpaid.


The Company is Hiring at a Higher Base Salary

It is always worth keeping an eye on the job listings your company puts up. While it might seem counterintuitive to look at listings for a company at which you are already working, you want to be aware of the salaries on offer. If your company is hiring for a role similar to yours, and that role is paid more than you are, then you know that you are being undervalued in your current role and it's time to ask for a raise.


You Haven't Gotten A Raise in a While

Your salary should increase over time. This is both a reward for successfully fulfilling your duties, and also to keep up with inflation. If it has been a while since you have received a raise, or if you have never received one, then it is time to approach management about it. A lot of companies will not be proactive about ensuring that their employees receive regular pay increases, instead waiting for the employees to ask for them, so not doing so is a good way to end up being underpaid in your role.


The Turnover Rate is High

Having a high turnover rate can mean a lot of things, none of them good. But one of the things it might mean is that your coworkers are leaving for better paying opportunities elsewhere. If this is the case than your employer is probably paying below industry averages, in which case you are almost certainly underpaid. If you can, talk to your former coworkers and find out why they left. This will give you a better idea as to whether you are making a fair market wage.


They Don't Want You Talking About Salary


Let's make this clear. According to federal labor laws your employer CANNOT forbid employees, either verbally or in written policy, from discussing salaries or other job conditions among themselves, and doing so is protected, even for non-unionized employees, whether you do it in person, at work, or via some other medium such as social media. The reason companies don't want their employees talking about salary amongst themselves is because doing so gives employees leverage when it comes time for salary negotiations, and if someone else is making more than you for doing the same job that is significant leverage. Make sure that you put yourself in the strongest negotiating position possible and discuss what you make with your coworkers.


The Research Shows It


These days it is very easy to find the national and regional averages for salary. A simple google search for your job title plus "salary" should yield plenty of information, but LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, and Salary.com are all good, reliable sources for comparing your salary to others in your field. If you take the time to do that research, and it indicates that you are below average for your field, then it is probably time to ask for a raise.

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