It’s a not a controversial statement to say that a hard worker deserves to be fairly compensated. Whether you’re a carpenter who pushes your body hard, or an administrative worker whose finger speed is unmatched, your paycheck should match what you give to your company. But reality is cruel. Some companies will underpay you if it saves them a couple bucks, and many will deal with that to continue to have a job.

But you need to pay the bills and have some money left over to, you know, enjoy your life. Here’s how you can figure out if you’re not being paid enough, and what you can do to change that.

Use Salary Comparisons

There are sites that can list the average salary someone makes in your position, which can be great if you need some evidence that you’re underpaid. Glassdoor is a great way to find what other companies pay, so take a quick search through that and gather your evidence. Often salaries listed on these sites can be outdated or unlisted in certain areas, but there are ways to get to the bottom of those jobs as well.

Compare to What Other Local Jobs are Offering

Depending on where you live, the payment you’ll receive will be different. The cost of living is one of the many reasons as to why this, so if you’re going to be comparing your job to a similar job, look locally. One great way to do this is to cruise through listings on a local job site, which may have job postings that give you an idea of what other companies offer for similar work.

Figure Out Your Own Worth

There are many factors that can determine how much you should be paid. Experience, skills, age, loyalty, they all add up. Trying to figure out how much you’re worth personally can be difficult, but there are self-worth apps to help you out. Recently, Glassdoor released a Know Your Worth app, which can determine how much you deserve based on experience, location, and other factors. It’s a good way to know how much you deserve to be paid, whether you’re in a company, freelance, or do a combination of both. Learn your own worth before you figure out if you’re getting paid enough.

Consider Pay Compression

Pay compression is when newer employees are offered a starting salary that is higher than the one you were offered, and thus their raises may overlap yours, despite you working at the company longer. With inflation, pay compression is natural, and it’s often the reason why more experienced employees get passed by newbies. When thinking about you salary, you should be thinking about this.

Factor In Your Company’s Earnings

If a company is going through tough times, the effects sadly trickle down to the employees, who may not get paid enough. However, if your company is booming, you have a case as to why you should get more money for your work.

How can you figure this out? Your company releases earnings reports quarterly and annually, so you can figure out if you deserve money based on those. Is your company booming? Well, your hard work is one of the many reasons why. Make sure you remind your boss of that.

How to Get That Raise

Getting a raise is a subject that deserves an article in of itself. There are so many factors that can decide if you should ask for a raise, but here’s a quick rundown to figure it out.

Just Ask

The reason why people don’t get a raise is because they don’t ask. No one likes confrontation, especially when you have to talk to someone who has more authority than you. But you’re not going to go far if you don’t take a few risks.

Plan It

Don’t ask for a raise randomly. Make sure you plan a meeting with your boss beforehand. Your boss’s time is valuable, and by wasting their time, you’re going to have less of a case.

Do it When Business is Good

As said before, a good way to determine if you’re being underpaid is if the company’s profits are up, and you’re not raking in any of that extra dough. Don’t ask for a raise if profits are down, as your boss may see this as an excuse to let you go.

Mention Your Contributions to the Company

When you make your case, think about everything you’ve done for the company. If you have a list of accomplishments that you can prove, don’t forget to bring them to the table.

Bring Comparisons

By showing off similar jobs that offer more, your boss may worry that you’ll go to them if they don’t give you a raise. If you really are a valuable employee, the boss won’t let go of you so easily, and would gladly add some money to your paycheck to keep you happy.

You should never work for less than you’re worth. Do the research, build a case, and get paid.


Susan Ranford is an expert on job market trends, hiring, and business management. She is the Community Outreach Coordinator for New York Jobs. In her blogging and writing, she seeks to shed light on issues related to employment, business, and finance to help others understand different industries and find the right job fit for them.