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Compare Your Salary – Are You Being Underpaid?

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Compare Your Salary – Are You Being Underpaid?

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It’s never a nice feeling learning that one of your colleagues is being paid more than you are for the exact same work. Or, perhaps you have a sneaking suspicion that you are not receiving the right salary for the amount of work you do and responsibility that you have.
In either of these situations it is a great idea to ask for a salary negotiation with your boss, but in order to do so effectively, it is wise to do your homework beforehand and compare your salary to others so you can be prepared.

What are you worth?

Everyone thinks that they are worth more than what they are currently getting, but let’s be realistic. Your employer is not going to pay you more just because you think you deserve it, as they factor in different points regarding job skill, job title, company profit contribution, responsibility, experience, and certifications.
By doing some extensive research, you can get a better idea of what figure is right for the job that you do so you can be confident with approaching your boss for a pay rise and have a good dollar amount to aim for based on industry standards.

How do you research?

There are multiple ways that you can research appropriate salary figures and compare what others are earning to your own package. This requires a lot of time and digging on your behalf, but will be worth it to get the result that you want.

Salary websites

We are lucky in this day and age that there are is a ton of useful information online plus many (often free) salary check websites that you can use.
Glassdoor gives salary information for cities all around the world and is an extremely useful career resource. Not only can you learn about what people earn in specific roles within different organisations, there is a wealth of information regarding companies, compensation and benefits. The site is still growing and while you may not find the exact information you need for your city, you can search for other cities in your country to get a better picture.

Salary Expert
Salary Expert is another global site that offers up to date data on various job salaries in major cities. You can learn about career salary potential and cost of living analysis, as well as search specifically by salary if you are wanting a career change.

Country specific websites

If you don’t have much luck on Glassdoor or Salary Expert you can always try a salary website that is specific for your country. To find one of these sites, enter search words into Google such as ‘salaries NZ’. North American readers can use sites like or, and recruitment giant Hays has a salary checker service on their websites in many countries like UK, Australia and New Zealand which is based on salary survey information.

Google search
As well as using the aforementioned sites, you can simply do a Google search using a variety of keywords – you never know what you might find. Here are some of the keywords you can try to use:

  1. Salaries insert your country or city hereie salaries Sydney, salaries Hong Kong or salaries NZ
  2. Pay scale for insert your job role here ie pay scale for executive assistant or pay scale for junior accountant
  3. Insert job here salary in insert city here ie assistant manager salary in Auckland or auditor salary in Melbourne

Often, it’s not what you know but who you know and the saying rings true when it comes to learning more about what you should be being paid. While you don’t want to ask someone you just met about their salary, see if you have any friends or acquaintances in the same industry that could give you an idea of what your salary should be. If you don’t want to share the salary that you are on now, you can always say that you have a friend wanting to get into the industry and they are wanting to know what salary to expect.

Look at job ads
Many companies and recruiters use a salary range on their job ads in order to attract the right group of candidates. Spend some time searching through job boards to find similar or identical roles to what you currently hold and make a note of the different salary amounts indicated. Make sure that you do this task at home and not from your work computer just in case your internet browsing is tracked – this could land you in some trouble!

Talk to a recruiter
Recruiters spend their career matching candidates with companies and negotiating salary packages, so why not use this to your advantage? You can discreetly set up a meeting to discuss what recent candidates have obtained for the same role that you’re in and if the recruiter feels that you could be worth more based on your skills and experience.

What next?

After you have exhausted all resources and come to the conclusion that you are being underpaid, it’s time to request a meeting with your boss so that you can ask for a raise. You can share the information that you’ve found about industry standards in your city but make sure to reiterate the fact that you want to stay within the company. You can get some great tips about the best way to ask for a raise by reading The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Asking For a Raise.

If by the end of your meeting, it’s clear that your employer is not ready to give you a raise, you’ll need to think hard about whether you do actually want to stay where you are or if its time to call back that recruiter you had a chat with and see if they have any opportunities for you with a better pay packet.

Do you have any other tips for finding out what you are worth? Please share them in the comments below!