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5 Signs That May Indicate You’re Underpaid at Work

woman underpaid at work

Asking for a raise can be a difficult request to bring up to one’s superiors. According to an annual national survey conducted by PayScale, a software company that gathers and analyzes compensation data, only 37 percent of US workers ask for a raise.

The fear of getting “no” for an answer is understandable. If employees never say a word, however, an employer will likely assume that they are simply content with their salary.

Conversely, such issues don’t need to escalate into wage and hour class action lawsuits. In many instances, proper salary consultations between employer and employee often lead to a win-win situation for both parties. PayScale found that 70 percent of employees who request a raise get what they ask for.

If you think that it’s high-time to request a pay bump, it’s best to start preparing a strong case for appraisal. Start by watching out for these tell-tale signs that indicate you’re underpaid at work.  

  1. The company is thriving financially but you haven’t had an appraisal

    Consistently high revenues for a company is typically welcome news for most employees. But if the benefits haven’t trickled down to you, then there may be reason to raise the matter to your supervisor. This is especially true if your team or department had a major role in steering the company towards financial prosperity.

    During company-wide meetings, pay attention to the numbers. See if revenue and expense targets are heading in the ideal direction. Additionally, try to get a general sense of how the company is doing from your colleagues. 

  2. Your peers have higher salaries

    Some employees eventually learn how much their peers are earning despite many companies prohibiting salary discussions in the workplace.

    If you don’t know whether your colleagues are indeed earning more than you are, avoid directly engaging or confronting them about it. Not everybody will be open to talking about money—even if you have a personal relationship with a colleague. Approach the matter as delicately as possible. 

  3. You’re missing out on a couple of employment benefits

    While salary is a crucial consideration, it isn’t the only aspect to examine when you’re determining whether or not you’re being compensated fairly. Benefits also come into play.

    For instance, if similarly skilled or experienced coworkers have more vacation leaves and a more generous health insurance coverage, it’s valid to ask your boss why you haven’t been accorded the same benefits. 

  4. You received a job title upgrade without a raise

    Perhaps a sterling performance has prompted your boss to grant you new duties and responsibilities. You’ve progressed from being an individual contributor to an assistant manager of sorts, yet you’re still earning the same salary.

    While greater trust in your capabilities is certainly rewarding in itself, it would serve you well to negotiate a higher salary — not just to better match the new job title, but also to ensure that a higher level of work is duly compensated.

  5. Your manager isn’t keen on talking about your career’s trajectory

    Ideally, a manager should be invested in your professional growth. As you progress through the ranks, you can offer more value to the company. But with promotions come salary appraisals, and your manager may not be prepared to get into that conversation for a number of reasons.

    Timing and language are key, but it’s also important to avoid waiting too long to strike up that discussion. Find an opportune moment (e.g. annual review) to bring up the matter to your boss. 

You’ve done your part, now what?

What should you do if an appraisal request is denied even after you’ve run through all your achievements and all the valid reasons for a pay bump? 

Respectfully ask your manager why it was turned down. There may be other factors that you didn’t take into account. The company may not be doing as well as you thought or some coworkers may have more years under their belt compared to you. Whatever the reason, do take the time and effort hear them out. 

If, however, the worst case scenario is more applicable — say, a deliberate action on the part of the company to infringe on relevant employment laws — then it may be time to reach out to lawyers who specialize in worker compensation issues. 

Hogue & Belong can help you settle your compensation claims

Our team of lawyers have over 30 years of experience in litigating and trying civil law suits in California. We’ve represented clients in several high profile cases involving major companies and figures to uphold compensations claims.

Call us at 619.238.4720 or send an email to inquiries(at)hoguebelonglaw(dotted)com to learn more about how you can benefit from our legal services.