If you're unhappy with your salary at work, you're in good company. In a new study by staffing firm Robert Half, 46% of employees feel they're underpaid for what they do. Not surprisingly, women are more likely to report feeling underpaid than men, which no doubt ties into the ever-present wage gap that's plagued our workforce for years.
Now, if you can't remember the last time you asked for a raise, you might have no one to blame for your lackluster salary other than yourself. According to job site CareerBuilder, 56% of employees have never asked for a raise, but of those who have, 66% were successful. Still, fighting for a raise is easier said than done, so here are a few tips for having that conversation and bumping your salary up to a number that makes you happier.
1. Know what you're worth
It's one thing to tell your boss you're dissatisfied with your earnings, but it's another thing to prove that you're statistically underpaid. Provide evidence of the latter, and your manager will have a hard time denying you a salary bump.
Though there are numerous resources that can help you dig up salary data, job site Glassdoor has a helpful "Know Your Worth" tool that allows you to filter this information by job title and geographic region for a true apples-to-apples comparison. Get it in front of your boss, and you just might score a higher paycheck going forward.
2. Highlight your worth
Maybe there are other folks in your industry who are making more money than you -- but what's to stop your boss from arguing that they might be doing specific things to deserve it? Since you have no way of comparing the job you do to the job thousands of strangers are doing at other companies, your next best bet is to present your boss with a concrete list of ways you've added value -- and will continue to add value -- to your company.
Maybe you hold an advanced degree that most people with your job title don't have. Maybe your new custom-designed training program resulted in a 10% uptick in sales this past quarter. No matter the specifics, come in prepared to show your boss why you deserve to be at the top end of the salary range for your job, and not at the bottom.
3. Affirm your commitment to doing better
One reason companies hesitate to grant raises is their fear of getting nothing in return from their employees. So quash that concern by affirming your intent to keep getting better at your job.
When you sit down with your boss to negotiate, be specific about how you plan to become an even more valued employee. Will you obtain a certification in your field? Go back to school? Develop a few key soft skills that will help you excel on the job? The more details you're able to provide, the greater your chances of getting a boost that bumps your salary up into respectable territory.
It's hard to stay motivated on the job when you're unhappy with your compensation. If you think you're being underpaid, don't just gripe about it. Instead, have that tough, but necessary, conversation. You have little to lose, and if all goes well, you'll come away more satisfied with your new and improved paycheck.