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5 Signs you might be getting underpaid

Posted on 09 February 2022

5 Signs you might be getting underpaid

5-minute read

​The topic of money is a difficult one to have as an applicant applying for a new job. You don’t want to come across as greedy, but at the same time, nobody wants to short change themselves compared to the market.

However, with this article today we intend to peel it back a layer and instead of exploring the topic of money during a job change, we want to focus on if you’re being underpaid in your current role and more specifically the signs to look out for that might indicate you are.

Before getting into the specifics, we do want to indicate that none of the below suggestions points to seeking council from online salary calculators or recruiter guides, and the reason for this is pure and simple… they tend to be fabricated.

Let us explain: online salary calculators by and large will take the average salary offered for an open position, great if you are in a role that has accumulated a lot of data and obviously not, if the other way around. However, they do not factor in company size, age and investment, meaning that yes, the ‘market average’ might suggest one thing but in reality, if all the data was accumulated from large scale companies, then this data is not a true representation.

On the other side we have external recruitment companies producing salary guides from their own ‘data’ (yes, we are an external agency so bear with us), but these too are usually fabricated and not a genuine representation as that company might have filled say 10 open roles for a particular technology in a quarter, but this small dataset cannot represent the full market.

Salary calculators and external recruiters (us included) should give you a ballpark number based on experience, but do not treat these numbers as the holy grail of salary confirmation, start here but then use the following 5 signs and common sense to indicate if you are being underpaid or not.

 

You are yet to have a single raise during your tenure

One of the most obvious signs is that if you have been with your employer for over 12 months and are still waiting for either a raise or worse a discussion about your growth and potential raise options.

Think back to a year ago, how much have you changed as a person. Your skills, experience and knowledge of your employer should be recognised or at least set on a clear path with you as to how you can obtain your next raise.

Not all companies pay review at 12 months, but the vast majority will, knowing this will put into perspective how your employer considers pay reviews and should give some indication if you are being underpaid or not.

 

Only a marginal raise if you did receive one

If you did manage to secure a raise the next step is to understand the percentage of such an increase. There is a lot of information online about how switching jobs can help obtain 5%, 10% or much more when it comes to your base salary, therefore if you managed to secure a raise in your current role but upon reflection, it was only a marginal rise of 2-4%, then maybe it might be better for you to explore new options at this time.

 

You have more responsibility but your salary is the same

This is one of the most common signs we run into. You are stepping from one role to another (contributor to leader) or taking on more responsibility to support the team, but with the added responsibility your pay has remained the same.

Some companies like to trial you in the new role before confirming the increase in salary and benefits, others simply like to take advantage of your good gesture.

Of course, the learning opportunity genuinely might outweigh the pay increase for you, but we do advise you to be mindful as to how long this continues and to not fall into this trap for too long.

 

Your employer is financially healthy

Another sign for you might be that your employer might be financially healthy, but you are not seeing how this filters down to you or those around you.

With a lot of new investment into many companies over these last years, you only need to scroll for a brief moment on LinkedIn to see the constant stream of ‘we just secured X millions’ or ‘Happy to announce series C’ etc.

Hard work, longevity and commitment to supporting a company should pay well in these scenarios. If you do not feel the leadership team are looking after the people (you) that helped them achieve these milestones, then maybe start to think is it better off supporting another companies’ milestones moving forward?

 

You haven’t asked

The last sign, is the most simplistic… have you asked? We mentioned that salary calculators and recruiters can give you insights, but extend beyond this into your network. Seek counsel from those in the same role as you, at the same level.

It is always advised to never discuss your salary with your peers, yet if you are not sure if you are being underpaid or not, we would encourage it to have a much clearer idea as to where you are when it comes to the market offerings today.

Comparing like for like will help you understand where you stand more accurately than any online calculator can.

 

Talking about money is not immediately something everyone wants to do, and as a result of this, we often come across people in our networks who are grossly underpaid and taken advantage of, simply because they are not aware of how to tackle this topic.

It is our jobs as next-generation recruiters to share this information with you, but also the jobs of your employers to pay fairly. If after reading this article you would like to discuss your personal situation further, reach out today and we can have an open discussion around your circumstance and shed light on what steps you can take.

 

As always, we would be grateful if you could share this into your networks so together, we can help bring simplicity to the chaos of recruitment.

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