What to do when you realize you are underpaid

A big change is coming to the workplace.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill last month that will require companies with more than 15 employees to include pay scales on rosters. Due to come into force on January 1, 2023, the bill will affect nearly 200,000 companies, including giants such as Disney, Apple, Google and Meta.

In addition, the law will also require private companies with 100 or more employees to submit an annual wage data report that discloses median and average hourly rates for race, ethnicity and gender in each job category to the Ministry of Fair Housing and Employment. An employer must also provide an employee with a pay scale for their position when requested.

California’s new pay transparency law comes at the start of a growing trend in states and cities across America. In 2021, Colorado enacted a law that requires companies to post pay ranges for jobs even if they’re remote, and similar laws in New York and Washington are expected to go into effect in the coming months. California’s bill, however, could have a greater impact nationally, as large companies, such as those located in Silicon Valley, tend to prefer standardization of hiring practices across workplaces. company, regardless of state.

In the not so near future, discussing your salary with colleagues in the workplace may not be so taboo. And while pay transparency in the workplace can reduce gender pay gaps and create a fairer work environment, it also raises a new question: what do you do if you find you’re underpaid? ?

1. Stay calm and professional

The realization that your colleagues have a higher salary will not come without a host of negative emotions. Create a barrier that prevents any jealousy, anger or insecurity from impacting your relationship with your co-workers and your boss. Do your work at work and wait until you get out of the office to think about what that means and what you want to do about it.

Adopt the approach of: how can you do more for the company and your time there?

2. Reflect on your performance

A lower salary is not necessarily a reflection of poor performance. For example, a new employee hired after a change in the job market might have a higher salary due to increased demand for the position.

That being said, take time to reflect on your own job performance. Is there anything your colleagues bring to the company that you don’t? Are there any skills you lack? Have you evolved within the company to bring in knowledge and skills that new hires don’t have? Also consider your work ethic. While showing up 15 minutes late might not seem like a big deal on a day-to-day basis, in the long run, time does add up — and employers take notice. Be aware of your blind spots – the places where you need to improve – as much as possible before you sit down for a conversation with your boss. The less the criticism shocks you, the less you will lose your temper. You can also use the next few weeks or months to improve your blind spots before approaching your boss. This will give you more leverage to negotiate a higher salary.

3. Prepare for a conversation with your boss

In addition to learning the pay range for your job at your current company, research industry and job market trends. Websites such as Glassdoor and Salary.com provide compensation estimates for jobs in a variety of industries and locations and can give you a ballpark figure on reasonable demand given the company and market demand. .

Don’t start a conversation about a raise without having an idea of ​​what salary you want and why you earned it. Being unprepared can, in the moment, lead to poor word choices that cause misunderstanding or weaken your case.

4. Highlight your desire to grow with the company

While it’s important to enter a salary negotiation with a number in mind, don’t present the conversation as an ultimatum. Instead, explain that you’d like to grow in the company. Set your desired salary as a goal, understand what the market compensates for that level of responsibility, then ask your boss what you can do to get there? This creates a conversation that is mutually beneficial for you and your employer – you have a path to achieving your desired salary, while your boss receives an employee who is more invested in the growth and success of the business.

5. Consider looking elsewhere

Opportunities for growth, work-life balance, company culture – all of this is valuable even if it doesn’t come in the form of a paycheck. A lower salary might be worth staying on if you’re happy with the other benefits and opportunities that come with the job. For others, a high financial reward might be more important. Like any other career-related decision, do your research and think carefully before deciding to quit your job. If you let your emotions get the better of you and rush off in spite of yourself, you might enter the job market only to find that the pay isn’t much higher elsewhere.

About Jason Norton

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