Feeling Underpaid? Here's What To Do
Do you constantly feel overworked and underpaid? You're not alone! Our team at Reeracoen recently conducted a LinkedIn survey, asking employees in Singapore how they feel about their salaries. Only a quarter replied that they are satisfied with what they earn—a majority of the 225 respondents (68%) indicated that they are underpaid.
Such feelings may potentially have far-reaching implications in the workplace. Research has shown that workers who feel underpaid are twice as likely as their satisfied peers to experience anxiety or depression. Besides low morale, your simmering frustrations at being treated unfairly may cause you to be less productive.
Therefore, you owe it to yourself to confirm your suspicions! Analyse your work situation in an objective manner; try not to let resentment cloud your judgement. Here are 3 signs to help you determine whether you’re actually underpaid.
Key Signs You're Being Underpaid
1. No pay reviews: Warning bells should start to ring if you haven’t had a pay review for more than a year. Despite telling you that you’re meeting—and even exceeding—expectations during your bi-annual performance appraisals, your manager simply did not discuss compensation. When positive reviews are not followed up with pay raises over a sustained period of time, you’re most likely underpaid.
2. Significant increase in job scope: Your roles and responsibilities have expanded without any corresponding increase in pay. Have you been recently assigned new work portfolios? Are you now in charge of training newer employees and evaluating their performance? Assess if your new duties are above your pay grade—and have become permanent features of your job (as opposed to isolated exceptions during peak periods).
3. New hires making more: You’ll know if you’re underpaid if new hires with similar job scopes joined your company with more attractive compensation and benefits packages. This is especially so if the roles advertised on job portals require less experience, yet have a higher salary range. However, there is a caveat: these roles must be substantially similar to your role. Fair comparisons cannot be made otherwise.
What to Do If You Find Out You’re Underpaid?
1. Know your worth: Conduct some research on the current market rates or industry averages. You can thus have a rough gauge of where you stand in relation to other local workers in your particular role and industry.
Besides such market research, you need to be clear on how you value-add to your company. How have you contributed to the company’s growth since you joined? Review all the major achievements you have had.
2. Have an honest conversation with your manager: The thought of surfacing this pay issue may seem daunting, but “the best way out is always through”. Initiate a meeting with your manager and clearly state the agenda. A detailed guide on how to ask for a pay raise can be found here.
3. Evaluate your current role: If your manager does not reply in the affirmative, you’ll come to a career crossroads. Will you stay or leave for greener pastures? Leaving salary matters aside, there may be some positive aspects of your present job which makes you reluctant to leave. For instance, your team is extremely close-knit and you enjoy the camaraderie.
In that case, you can consider having some side hustles instead of leaving your present company. Side hustles such as selling baked goods and pet sitting can help to supplement your income.
4. Switch jobs: When you have exhausted all other options, it may be time for you to kickstart your job search. Feel free to reach out to our friendly Career Consultants for career guidance!
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