Knowing you are underpaid is one of the worst feeling an employee can have. It not only affects their self-esteem but also negatively impacts their productivity.

Before asking for a raise, it is important for employees to make sure they are are really underpaid and have the right to ask for a higher salary. It can be difficult sometimes for employees to really know if they are entitled to approach their boss with such a request. This is partly due to the fact that money can be such a taboo subject.

What are the signs that can help employees recognize that they are being underpaid?

People with the same job title as you are making more money at other companies

If people who have the same job title as you and are working for the same company as you are getting paid more, then it is a sign you need to confront/talk to your boss about it. You do not need to be aggressive but have a constructive discussion about why you are not getting paid as much as they are. If you find that the reasons are not good enough, then it will be a great opportunity to negotiate a better salary.

Your boss always avoids the salary talk

If you find yourself always trying to get your boss’s attention and time, he or she may be reluctant because that may lead to a salary discussion or something complex that they’re unprepared to discuss. If you are going through this, do not get discouraged, keep insisting and make sure they sit down and listen to what you have to say.

Related: Thinking about asking for a raise. Here are things you should NOT do

Your salary remains the same as your responsibilities increase

If you find yourself doing more and more work while your salary still remains the same, it is a clear sign you are being underpaid. When you get hired, you need to understand that you accept a salary that is linked to the job description that is presented to you. When this job description starts changing, you have the right to renegotiate your salary. Some employers will try to discretely pass you more responsibilities that seem similar to what you were previously doing. However, while it is normal for great employees to aspire to do more than what is asked from them, it is also important to make sure you are not being used.

Your salary is remaining the same while your firm’s revenues are significantly growing

This does not mean that as soon as your company’s numbers are looking better you should rush to your boss’s office and ask for more money. However there are times when your company’s success is directly linked to you or your department’s efforts and should be rewarded. This can come in the form of bonuses, spa days or else. The trick is to always show employees they are appreciated and valued.

Your boss tells you that you should be ‘Grateful to at least have a job’

When your boss starts talking like this, it is a red flag. Oftentimes, when your boss does not want to offer a higher salary, he/she will start playing mind games, making YOU think that you are not good enough or that you haven’t performed well enough to deserve it. While it is totally normal to work hard for your raise, it is also important for you to know your worth and know when you deserve to be paid more. No boss or supervisor should be able to make you believe that you are worth less than you really are. If you get the feeling that your boss is trying to play in your mind, talk about it to someone you trust and find the courage to confront the situation.

New hires are offered a higher salary 

It is important for you, as an employee to monitor job listings for your own company. This will help you track when your company is offering higher salary to new employees having the same level of experience as you do. When this happens, you know it’s time to ask for a raise.

The internet says you are being underpaid

Today, almost anything we need to know can be found on the internet! So if you have a gut feeling you are being underpaid, your answers are just a click away. Take the time to make some researches about the average salary rate for employees in your field and in your country. If the internet tells you you are being underpaid, chances are… you are!

If you realize you are being underpaid, this does not mean you need to immediately leave your job. There is always room for open and honest conversations with your boss. You have the power to negotiate your salary and feel satisfied and valued inside your company!


Ann-Sophie Ovile, Writer, Shortstints

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