As a hard-working employee, you dedicate what feels like countless hours to your career. If you’re like most Americans, you may even find it challenging to maintain a reasonable work-life balance, leaving you exhausted and fried when you’re finally off the clock. After so much effort to succeed at work, it can be extremely frustrating to feel as if you are underpaid. After all, even if you love what you do, everyone deserves to be fairly compensated for their contributions.
In today’s day and age, being compensated fairly at work is fundamental to building a balanced life. Everything from your housing to your health and hobbies is affected by how much you earn, so it’s crucial to ensure that you’re earning what you deserve. If you’re starting to wonder, “How do I know if I am underpaid?” check out the following clues to determine whether it’s time for a raise.
You’ve Never Received a Raise
The first telltale sign that you may not be earning the salary you deserve is that you’ve never received a raise. Particularly if you have been at your company for several years, don’t be afraid to speak to your supervisor about a pay increase. Typically, employees receive a yearly raise after their first year at a company. This type of regular raise is designed to compensate employees for increased responsibilities, additional skills gained throughout the year and the rising cost of living expenses.
That being said, if you are new at your job, it’s a good idea to wait at least six months before asking for a raise. This amount of time will allow both you and your employer to determine whether or not you are a good fit for your position. It will also give you time to show what you can do to enhance day-to-day operations as you become more comfortable within the company.
It’s Been a While Since Your Last Performance Review
Do the words “performance review” instantly stress you out? Time to think again! Performance reviews are the best way to maintain open communication with your supervisor about topics like pay, working conditions and job satisfaction. Ideally scheduled every three to six months, performance reviews give employers an opportunity to evaluate your work, but they also give you a setting in which you can ask for a raise or discuss salary expectations.
Conducting regular performance reviews isn’t just beneficial for employees — they also allow employers to benefit from reduced turnover and improved employee satisfaction. In fact, a recent report by Payscale reveals that employees who believe they are underpaid are 50% more likely than their counterparts to search for a new job. With this statistic in mind, there’s no doubt that regular performance reviews help employees earn better wages while encouraging them to stay in their positions for longer periods of time. If you’re thinking to yourself, “What to do if I’m being underpaid?” a performance review is a great place to start.
You Earn Less Than Employees with Similar Experience and Education
Yet another indicator that you may be underpaid is that you are earning less than employees who have backgrounds and educational accolades that are similar to yours. Generally speaking, it is reasonable for employers to compensate employees differently based on their level of education or experience. For example, in the teaching field, teachers with Bachelor’s degrees are often paid less than teachers with Master’s degrees. This fluctuation in pay directly correlates to the level of training and education that the teachers have.
With this in mind, if you know that you have a similar level of experience and education as your colleagues yet earn less than they do, it’s time to have a discussion with your supervisor. By approaching a conversation about your compensation in a calm, collected way, you can successfully leverage your way into a better salary. However, if your employer is unwilling to adjust your compensation to match those of similarly-qualified employees, it may be time to look for positions elsewhere.
Increased Responsibilities, Same Pay
Throughout a career, it’s expected that an employee will progressively gain more responsibilities — as well as skills — in his position. If performance reviews are scheduled regularly (every three to six months), then employers and employees have an opportunity to discuss these changes and adjust salary expectations accordingly.
However, if you have taken on more and more professional responsibilities over time without receiving a raise, you may be underpaid for your work. After all, since starting at your company, you have inevitably gained valuable skills and knowledge. These advancements should be reflected in your salary. But how do you tell your employer you’re being underpaid? An honest conversation with your employer is a good starting point.
You Receive Limited Benefits Compared to Your Colleagues
While salary is an obvious indicator of an employee’s compensation at work, alternative benefits are equally valuable and should be adjusted throughout an employee’s career. If you find that your colleagues have access to benefits that you don’t — yet you share similar professional backgrounds and education — you should consider speaking with your supervisor.
When you think of benefits, you may think of medical plans, but benefits span so much more. Some companies incentivize employees with stock options, various discounts, memberships and savings plans. Don’t underestimate the value of benefits when it comes to your long-term professional path. Speak to your supervisor to discuss your current benefits and how they should be adjusted in regards to your professional skills and performance.
Earn What You Deserve
If you suspect that you are underpaid — or simply want to ensure that you’re being compensated fairly — it’s time to take action. An employment law attorney can help make sure that you are earning what you deserve and nothing less. You may even have grounds for an unpaid wages case if you think that your employer has not paid you fairly for your work. Give our experienced attorneys at Feldman Legal Group a call at 877-946-8293 today to ensure that you’re earning a fair salary.