We all want to earn as much money as possible, no matter where we are career-wise. But new data from Udemy reveals that only 60% of younger workers are satisfied with their compensation, leaving the other 40% feeling underpaid. If you're convinced your salary isn't up to par, it's imperative that you ask for a raise, since the money you make at your current job will likely influence the salary you're able to command at your next one. Here's how to prepare for that conversation and pull it off successfully.
1. Do your research
Your intellect and personality alone aren't reasons enough to demand a raise. Rather, you'll need to prove to your company that you aren't being paid fairly given your job title, experience level, and geographic region (keeping in mind that those who work in major cities typically out-earn workers in smaller metro areas, all other things being equal). So go online, do some digging, and see what the typical worker in your area with your position is making.
Job site Glassdoor has a handy "Know Your Worth" tool that can help you access this data, so from there, it's a matter of seeing how your salary stacks up. If you find that your earnings are in line with those of the typical worker in your position, then you may want to hold off on having that salary discussion with your manager. But if you are indeed being underpaid, you'll want to schedule it immediately.
2. Practice your pitch
Once you determine that you are making less than the average person with your job description, your next move is to make a compelling case to your manager for more money. But don't just go in expecting to wing it. Put together a brief one-pager that summarizes the data you've collected, and practice a few key talking points around it.
For example, if you tend to work long hours or pitch in on weekends frequently, that's reason enough why you should, at the very least, be earning the average salary for someone in your role. Similarly, if you've recently pulled off a string of successful projects, you can mention each one to further drive home your point. The key, however, is to come in knowing what you're going to say and present so that you don't get flustered on the spot.
3. Have a backup strategy
Confident as you may be going into that salary discussion, you do need to consider the fact that it may not shake out the way you're hoping it will. Your boss might put his foot down and insist that there's a freeze on raises at present, or say that he strongly feels that despite the data you present, your salary is more than adequate. So before you have that sit-down, figure out what your next move will be if things don't go your way.
You might ask your manager to schedule a follow-up meeting on the matter in three or six months so that you can revisit the topic. Or, you might ask for something in lieu of additional money to soften the blow, such as an extra vacation day or more flexibility with your schedule. While those things won't necessarily take the place of extra income, you might as well go for them, as your boss may be willing to agree to some sort of consolation prize.
If you're being underpaid at work, don't be silent about it. The longer you remain dissatisfied with your earnings, the greater your chances of losing motivation and having your performance suffer. And while it's not an easy conversation to have, remember that the worst that'll happen is that your boss says no.
The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.