An honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work – that’s all most of us are looking for. But with many people still seeing their salary as a taboo topic, it can be hard to work out whether you’re being paid fairly. While the exact definition of fair pay will differ for everyone, at the very least it should mean that you’re being paid equivalently to others in your organisation. And, ideally, you’ll also want to know that your being paid at a fair market rate, in line with what other similar companies are offering.
Knowing what you’re worth
You have a unique combination of skills and experience. By doing some research into average salaries for others with a similar skillset and background, you can start to understand how much your CV is worth to employers. Sites such as Glassdoor publish average salary information, and you can use these figures as the basis for your research. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Average salaries differ depending on where you’re based. If you live in a smaller town or more northern city, looking at data from London won’t be particularly helpful.
- The number of years you’ve spent on the job matters. Consider where your experience puts you on the food chain and research accordingly.
- Remember that most employers consider perks such as pension contributions and employee support schemes as part of the overall remuneration package. A boss might offer high pension contributions or shares in the company to make up for lower-than-average wages.
Has your research shown that you should be getting more for your efforts? Many companies have a little wiggle room in their budget, and can afford to a pay-rise for deserving employees. Simply striding in and telling your manager that you’d like more money is unlikely to work, though. Instead, consider when will be the best time to negotiate, and make sure you’re prepared to make your case.
- Your annual review or appraisal is a good opportunity to make the case for a higher wage – but only if you are expecting good feedback! If you’ve hit your targets and can demonstrate the value that you’re giving to the company, then it’s entirely appropriate to follow your annual review with a request for a pay rise.
- Another good time to ask for more money is immediately after doing something brilliant. Whether you’ve landed an excellent sale, found a way to save the company money or simply delivered an excellent project, get into your boss’s good books first, and they’ll be more inclined to up your pay.
- Does your company offer small pay rises every year or so? If so, this can be a chance to negotiate for more. When they offer you your annual increase, politely come back to them with an alternative figure – backed up by research, of course.
Know when to move on
In some cases, you’ll only be able to get a fair salary by moving to another company. Research suggests that most employees can get a far bigger pay bump by moving to another business, vs. simply waiting for a pay rise in their own role. You could also consider moving into another industry, a slightly different role or even a new location based on where you’re likely to earn the most.