The details of an employee’s salary are rarely shared around the water cooler. This leaves many people feeling uncertain of their position on the income ladder. How do you know if you are being properly compensated when the subject is taboo or banned in the workplace?
Studies show that 39 percent of employees do not think they are earning enough for the work they are doing. Luckily, there are techniques and tools you can use to bypass the painful task of questioning your peers.
Search the Internet for Your Career
The quickest and easiest way to find comparable income rates is by searching your position on job websites. If you have a very specific job title in a specific field, this method can help you find out what companies similar to yours are offering new employees. However, if you have a more general job title, such as HR Manager, the company, workload and experience level will affect the salary. Some job websites allow for a more detailed search, helping you target applications that reflect your specific skillset and position.
Salary-checking tools are also available online. Employees are asked to enter their basic information, such as position, experience and company name. After this information is processed, they are provided with comparable salaries in their field. While these tools are not 100 percent accurate, the income-ranges can be used as part of a broader investigation.
Keep Stock of Your Stocks
The success of a company is often reflected in the amount it can (and is willing to) pay its employees. If you are seeing continuous growth in your company and it is not being reflected in your paycheck, you may be missing out on your share of the success you are helping to create.
A company’s success does not always translate to higher earnings. While large companies can afford to hire sought-after employees by offering higher paychecks, their popularity may stop them from doing so. A popular company may rely on their credibility and security to hire talent. Smaller firms without the same level of credibility and security can only compete by offering larger paychecks. Understanding the company’s desirability is just as important as its success. You may be paid better at a smaller firm with less security.
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Are you a rare find?
The degree to which you are in demand will affect the amount you are paid. This does not only refer to your specific field, but also to the number of people in the company that can do your job. If your field is narrow and the number of people available to do the work is minimal, your value will be higher. Similarly, if the company only requires one of you, the value of your position within the company will be high. If the type of education you received and the courses, skills and experience you have gained are unusual and extraordinary, your salary should match it.
Another factor to take into consideration is how hard it would be to hire and train a replacement. Your skills and value within the company may far outweigh the effort in bringing in someone new. If this is the case, your salary should reflect your specialist skills.
Do you have any competition?
Geography is a key player when it comes to income. Depending on the area you are in, the average salary will differ compared to the surrounding areas. This difference can be caused by the two following factors:
- The cost of living. If the area has a low cost of living, your salary may reflect this. This does not mean you cannot earn more in your field, but it may involve you moving to areas that offer larger growth for companies and therefore larger paychecks for employees.
- The number of people who are in-demand. If you are in an area that has more people with your skillset than companies offering positions, your earnings will reflect this. You may want to increase your skill set by taking additional courses to keep your value higher than your competition.
Your value in a company will dictate how much you are paid. Look at your own earnings against what the company charges its clients. For example, if you are paid considerably less than what a client pays but provide a large portion of the services offered, you may be earning less than you should be. If you could be charging more as a freelancer, you may find that your salary is too low.
Ask Friends in Similar Fields
If you feel comfortable asking colleagues or are allowed to discuss salaries with a peer, it may be beneficial to do so. Ideally, you should find out the salary of a colleague in the same company who has the same skillset and responsibilities as you. This will give you a clear perspective on your own salary. Talking to peers in the same field but at rival companies is also a great way to gauge how much you could be earning.
Keep an eye out for openings in your own company that are similar to your position. In some cases, a company will list the starting salary on a new job posting. Even if the job is for an entry-level position, you can see if your salary is equal to the years of experience you have put in.
Do Not Forget the Perks
It is not always about the money. Your salary is only one element of your compensation. While your income may be slightly lower than what other companies offer, you might be enjoying more vacation time, better 401K options, flexibility in your schedule and a great location. These factors may not translate into a higher income, but they may save you more money in the long run. For example, you may earn more at a rival company, but the commute would cost the same amount you receive as a pay increase. Similarly, you may feel that you are underpaid for a position, but the 401K benefits and vacation time allows a more enjoyable lifestyle and secure future.
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