How to figure out if you are underpaid at work- Experts

Salaries are a tricky thing to talk about and always shrouded by secrecy. Most times you do not know if a co-worker is being paid more than you, you sometimes  do not know how much your friend makes. So how are you supposed to know that you’re being paid the ‘right’ amount?

Here are a few tips recommended by experts on how to figure out if you are on the right salary scale.

  1. If you have been employed and for a few years you have not received consistent pay rises according to the industry standard, then highly likely you are being underpaid.  Consistent salary raises especially early in your career are key and make a big difference in future. Missing out on the increases like the annual pay rise may mean a loss of tens of thousands over the course of your career. You may not feel it now, but you will in future.


  • When you get promoted, experts advise that you ask for a salary package consistent with the market standards, and not accept the 2 or 5 per cent raise offered to you. And how do you know the market standard? Research, ask recruiters or headhunters on how much the position is worth. Also ask people on the position you are being promoted, the salary range the position attracts,  so you make sure you do not short change or under sell yourself . Have in mind that it is cheaper for the company to promote you that to hire and train a new person for that position.


  • You can also go out of your way and find recruiters or headhunters in your line of work as they are very aware of the salary and compensation packages in your industry considering the amount of people they place in jobs. You can get some of the headhunters in networking events and also having a suave LinkedIn profile.
  • Fun fact: You may contact a headhunters at a time when they are looking for someone like you and changing job is always a way of getting a pay bump.
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Extra work

  • Sometimes you find yourself being called often to do tasks that are out of your job description, or doing a colleague’s work who is probably on maternity leave. This happens a lot, over-performing and feeling the need and pressure to be a team player even when it leaves you tired and sometimes angry. Depending on your company’s culture, HR experts advise that you may ask for some compensation for the extra work or negotiate to delegate and spread out some of the extra work to colleagues.

So when you realise you are underpaid, how then do you approach your boss to ask for a raise?

There is no one way of asking for a pay increase, but with time, you will know which style works for you and the company you work for.

One of the tactics HR experts advise is to think about the negotiations from your employer’s perspective and so frame your request in a way that shows clearly how the firm will also benefit. You may say with a higher salary, it will be easy to entertain clients or buy them a decent lunch and this bring business. Or with a more senior tittle, you will get more respect in the industry and thus bring higher business

I also strongly encourage people to rehearse their ask. Grab a friend and have her play your boss. It helps to hear yourself out loud — and it decreases anxiety


People are underpaid all around the world. If you want that to change you need to work smarter, not harder and actually bring value to the company you work for. Thats how you can then negotiate a better wage.

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