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Underpaid At Work? Here’s How To Discover What You’re Really Worth.

Published: Tuesday 4th June 2019

Most people in the workplace are reluctant to discuss how much they’re being paid, so it can be difficult to know if you’re being underpaid. For obvious reasons, it’s good to know where you stand when it comes to the salary you’re being paid for your job in the workplace. If you haven’t had a salary review in a while, now might be an ideal time to do just that – especially if you’re noticing job adverts posted with salaries that are considerably higher than your own.

Man climbing up steps towards a bigger salary in his job role, not knowing if he's being underpaid

Signs that you’re being underpaid

One of the first places to look should be an online salary calculator. This should give a rough estimate of the UK average salary for your role. Of course, while a salary checker may take account of your experience and location, it won’t assess other criteria. This includes how long you’ve been with the company, whether or not you’re responsible for managing other workers, or any major contributions you’ve made during your time in the role – all of which could significantly impact on what you should be paid. For that, you might need to talk to others, such as an experienced recruitment consultant, someone in a similar role, or, a senior manager that is responsible for hiring people with your skill set.

If you discover that you’re being paid less than you should, you’re not alone. An astonishing 65% of UK workers feel likewise.

If you’re a member of a trade union, you could start by getting advice from your representative. In many public sector organisations, for instance, pay scales are fixed, so this should give you a fairly good idea of your pay grading.

Pink piggybank with glasses next to calculator to check employee salary

Negotiate the salary you deserve

Ultimately, the salary that you’re paid comes down to negotiation, whether you’ve just been offered a position, or if you’ve already been working in a job for some time.

If your salary has been stagnant for some time, then this alone could be a valid reason to ask for an increase. In any discussion about a pay rise, your negotiation skills are going to be put to the test, so don’t rush into anything. Plan ahead.

For private sector workers, other factors come into play. Look at your role in the overall scheme of things, especially in terms of what’s happening at the firm. Is the company doing well? Is your role secure? If the company is losing money or there is any chance of redundancies, now is probably not the best time to be looking for a raise. Alternatively, if you can make a case to show that you’ve made a positive contribution to the firm’s bottom line, then it’s definitely time to send an email requesting a pay review.

Employee and employer negotiating salary with a handshake

Could you be earning more elsewhere?

Make sure there’s enough time to prepare for your meeting. With the research you’ve carried out, you should have figure in mind, but prepare to accept a smaller raise, if necessary.

Focus on your contributions and achievements to make your case and be prepared if the answer is no. In this case, you may want to ask for a timeframe for when a raise would be considered. If you’re not happy with the answer, and you’re confident you’re being paid less than the market rate, it might be time to look elsewhere.

In which instance, a good place to start is Zoek. With our intelligent job matching platform, you can search, match and apply from over 170,000 UK jobs across all sectors and industries. Plus, with our slick, easy and speedy application process, you can apply for multiple jobs in just 1 click with our innovative Jobs Cart feature. Find a job which pays you what you’re worth today.

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