Signs You’re Underpaid At Work: What You Can Do About It?


You will find tons of advice on how to negotiate for a job title or a higher pay scale, but no one will tell you the surefire ways to find out if you are actually underpaid to go that direction. Being underpaid does not only lead toa monetary loss but can give you a feeling of being undervalued too. It can also reflect on your job title and role in the organization. However, it is extremely important to know if you really deserve a raise. Once this question is clear, you should know when to negotiate for a higher pay scale and how much to ask for.

First and foremost, it is crucial that soon after you realize you’re underpaid at work, you should consider negotiating with your manager instead of suffering in silence. Not every employer will respond positively every time, but it is worth giving a shot. It is crucial to rememberthat if you fail to ask in the first place, you will never get it.

Why Is It Important to Find Out If You’re Underpaid

Some employees feel highly reluctant to talk about money, especially if they hadn’t spenta lot of time in that organization. But failing to raise your voice in time can drag it, and you will continue to earn less than you deserve. However, when deducing if you are really underpaid, do not simply compare yourself to another employee. In most cases, one employee earns more than the other for valid reasons, such as additional certifications, education, and experience.

For instance, a network analyst job may offer a different salary package to someone with knowledge about Windows Server 2016 – Identity, as they are able to optimize and offload technologies that other network analysts can’t. Naturally, there’s a potential for such candidates to earn a higher salary despite the same job title.

The simplest – yet the most effective – way to gauge your worth periodically is to look for similar recruiters in the industry and their offer for the same job title. Responding to recruiters for interviews can also give you a great idea about your potential of earning a higher salary.

With the variety of social media platforms – especially LinkedIn – it has become even easier to reach out to recruiters and learn more about job details. It is crucial to find out whether you’re underpaid or not to be able to make better career choices and earn what you deserve.

Signs You’re Underpaid

To take a safe direction, do your homework before reaching out to your employer for a raise. Here are the top ways to know if you are underpaid.

Check Salary on Service Websites

Many websites offer the service of estimating the average salary according to your job title. Use the ‘Know Your Worth’ tool on the Glassdoor website to get a custom result on your salary estimate. You can try Dice or Payscale as well to get a comparison result.

Use these services and compare them with the salary you are earning right now. Don’t forget to incorporate factors like experience, additional training and geographical location before drafting a conclusion.

You Accepted a Low Income In The First Place

Most people,when looking for their first job ever, often tend to accept lower offers for the sake of getting work. While that desperation makes sense while trying to penetrate the job market, you cannot live with it forever.

Consider your progress from that time. If there isn’t a significant change, chances are that you’re probably underpaid. Catching up with the market can be quite difficult if you have started low.

Compare with Colleagues

As mentioned earlier, it will only make sense to compare if you make an apple-to-apple comparison. Find out if your colleagues – with the same level of education and experience – are getting a higher salary and why.

This can be difficult in a business culture where discussing salaries is prohibited. However, you can find a way to interrogate during networking events. If the difference makes your jaw drop, you are definitely underpaid.

The Increase In Your Workplace Responsibilities does not Match The Increase In Your Salary

If your roles and responsibilities are constantly piling up without a similar addition in the compensation or salary, it’s a sign you’re underpaid.

Another obvious sign is an upgrade in your job title that does not reflect in your salary increment.

No Regular Performance Review

In fast evolving industries, it is crucial to upgrade your credentials regularly to stay worthwhile. For instance, the IT industry recognized employees with fresh and up-to-date IT training under their belt. However, if these efforts are not recognized, you are likely to be underpaid.

If your employer is not carrying out regular performance review to regard your new credentials and training, you may not be making a deserving salary.

What To Do About It

Now that you’ve finally realized that you’re underpaid, it’s time to take action. Don’t start looking for new jobs right away. Your current employers may be willing to compensate you. The key is to communicate and present all the reasons why you think you deserve a better pay scale. The stronger your case, the better the chances to negotiate the salary on your terms.

Share your long-term goals with your employer and how you’re planning to achieve them. Motivated and dedicated employees are an asset that employees don’t want to lose. Also, don’t hesitate to proactively communicate your wins and achievements. Some employers – especially in larger organizations – are not aware of every individual and their contribution to the business.

Show a willingness to take more responsibility and ask for feedback. Unless and until you are going to be straight about it, your employer may not take it seriously. Therefore, communication is key.

Last but not least, you always have the option of upgrading your resume and finding another job that offers more money. Be ready to switch without losing an opportunity.


The process may be more time consuming than it seems. Even if you go in the right direction, don’t expect an answer right away. This is especially true for larger organizations with a chain of authority. Even if your manager wants to give a raise right away, he/she may probably have to wait for all the authorities to agree first. So be patient, do your homework, and don’t forget to communicate if you are ready to make it big.