Feeling you are being underpaid for what you are doing can lead to feelings of resentment, and it is not uncommon to feel frustrated that you are being underpaid, but not really know how to go about changing the situation.
If this is the situation you are finding yourself in, there are some things you can do to change things. However, before you barge into your manager’s office demanding an increase, you need to do a bit of homework, and get all your facts together. It is never easy asking for more money, and having a good logical argument to back you up, is important.
Firstly do your homework. Do some research and find out what people in similar positions would be earning. Find out if your salary is really not in line with what others in the same position would earn. Try when making these comparisons to do so with people not only in the same role as you, but also in the same industry. Salaries can vary tremendously from industry to industry.
Have a look at some online salary surveys, and do some research on job postings offered on the various job boards. Ensure when you do pluck up the courage to broach the subject, that you have all your facts at your fingertips. Ensure when calculating your current salary, that you have included all your benefits, i.e. bonuses, commissions – if applicable, healthcare, profit sharing, shares etc. Keep in mind that there is a good chance that your direct manager is not going to know exactly what you are earning, so you need to have all the facts at your fingertips. It is normally the Human Resources department that will have the finer details with regards to your salary breakdown, not your direct manager.
Don’t be scared to show your worth. Tell your manager where you add value to the company, mention any specifics that may be relevant such as awards you may have received, or where you may have saved the company money etc. Have a list of your accomplishments with you, and don’t be scared to go through this list, with your manager.
If you really feel that you are not being paid your worth and the company is not prepared to do anything about your salary, then you need to weigh up the pros and cons of working for the company, and may need to consider looking for another position. However the golden rule is, never resign until you have found another job. Always remember that it is a lot easier finding a job when you already have one, than when you are unemployed. Also keep in mind that when you are unemployed you have less bargaining power over what salary you get offered than when you are already employed. If you are already employed and a company wants to offer you a position, they will have to offer you more than what you are currently earning to make it worth your while, whereas if you are unemployed they can offer you a lot less, and you may be forced to accept it because you have no income, and no other options.
If the company you are working for is just not able to offer you more because times are tough, you can always ask if they can try to structure your salary differently, or to include a petrol allowance, or commission, or a car allowance. This may help to make things better financially for you, without the company having to make too many sacrifices.
Lastly before making any drastic decisions think carefully about whether you are happy in your current position and company. If the only thing that is making you want to leave is the salary, think carefully about whether you should be moving on or not. It is so easy to leave a company you are happy working for, for a better paying job elsewhere, only to find that you are unhappy in the new company. You need to be happy where you are working as well, so always weigh up the pros and cons very carefully before making any drastic decisions.