Careers & Employment

Are You Being Underpaid?

Are you happy with your monthly paycheque?  Many people across the UK are being underpaid for the work that they do, with salary not matching up to expectations of the role, the level of responsibility, or the amount that other companies pay for similar roles.

Here are three of the key reasons that you may be being underpaid, plus what you can do about it.

Your wages have stagnated

Perhaps your salary seemed pretty competitive when you signed on for the position. But if that was more than a couple of years ago, there’s a good chance your pay hasn’t kept up with the rate of inflation. For instance, this year inflation has hovered around 6% – so any pay rise under that amount would actually be a pay cut in terms of real-world buying power. In companies that don’t offer annual pay rises matching (or beating) inflation, it can be a good idea for staff to come together to address the issue with senior leadership.

You’ve stepped into new responsibilities

After a couple of years in a role, you’ll often find that you’ve picked up more responsibilities than your original job description. Or perhaps a colleague has left, and you’ve started informally picking up a few of their responsibilities. This is a great way to prove your worth and show you’re a team player, but unless it comes with a formal promotion, your pay probably won’t match the new work that you’re doing. This is fine if it’s only temporary, but if this looks set to carry on long term, have a candid conversation with your manager about making sure your title and salary reflects the work that you’re actually doing. Alternatively, if you feel like you’ve got too much on your plate, you could talk about stepping back into your original role.

Newer employees are being paid more for the same work

Employees have the upper hand in today’s job market, which means that lots of companies are offering more to ensure that they can find great workers. However that means longer-serving, loyal employees can lose out, as all the money is going to the newer staff.

Sometimes the best way out of this situation is to find a new job. Lots of studies have shown that employees earn bigger ‘pay rises’ when they switch to a new employer, as companies will often pay a premium to find new talent. Going to a company with better pay may also indicate that they value their employees more, suggesting a better overall compensation package.

However, you can also try speaking to your manager and other senior staff about increasing your salary. If your bosses have shown that their reasonable, there’s not much to lose from going to your next performance review with evidence that you deserve to be paid more. Don’t make the conversation all about what others are being paid – instead, show evidence of the value that you’re bringing and the going market rate for that type of work. If they say no, there’s still the option of brushing off that CV and stepping out for a new opportunity.

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