Am I underpaid?

“What is my worth?” And “what value addition am I doing?” these are the two questions, which are important for all employees. Good thing is that most of the sensible employees know the correct answer. It is good to know your worth. But have you ever felt like if you are underpaid and getting a lesser salary?

Most of the employee would be feeling that they are getting a lesser salary than they deserve or than the market rate. How much they deserve may be a matter of discussion, but the market rate is having records and facts.

What survey says?, a salary structure analysis company, is differing on this point. Referring to the survey done by them, more than 90% of the employees who feel to be underpaid are actually getting the salary at or near to market rate. In most of the cases, the employees are having a wrong idea of the market rate.

In the survey conducted among over more than 5 Lakhs employees, it is noticed that Employees are more concerned about the transparency and fairness of employer. Those confident in the fairness and transparency of their employers’ pay processes; the survey found that such employees are 5.4 times (in terms of count of employees) more satisfied with jobs than people paid at market rate.

Underpaid, Really?

It is a natural human behaviour to overvalue in self-judgement. So if you are feeling that you are underpaid, then there is nothing abnormal. But have you ever checked if you are really underpaid? There are a few incidents when you feel you are underpaid and let us see the real picture of it.

  1. Comparison with colleagues: It is the most obvious reason to feel underpaid. You compare yourself with the people around you. However ‘Salary’ is made a confidential document by most of HR to avoid such issue, but we all know that there is imparity for some reasons. Most of the employees of the same grade will have a similar pay scale, but few selective may have higher or lower than the median level. It all depends on performance, contribution, their past companies and most importantly management’s opinion for their future.  There are always few employees on fast-tracked growth and they would be getting better salary and few would be on declination path and would not be getting any hike from years. You need to think that, why you are not put on fast track growth by management.
  2. Comparison with new recruit: If you get an idea of the salary of a new recruit then you start comparing yourself with them. For example, if you are on manager grade in the organisation since last 6 years, and company hire a new person at same grade with salary almost 1.5 times of yours, then this hurts you a lot. You compare yourself in terms of loyalty and achievements. First thing, such salary information are rumours most of the time. Secondly, the company has to hire an employee on many parameters and thus their salary depends on many factors like past salary, future roles etc. In such cases, before looking for another job, first, evaluate yourself and then talk to your manager.
  3. Random comparison with the market: However this is a very unrealistic comparison, but still it is a major reason to feel underpaid. Two different companies and their employee will definitely have different facilities and salary. It may be possible that your company is paying less in terms of salary but is much better in terms of job security and other benefits. This comparison is actually just comparing the salary numbers which is wrong.

How should you evaluate your salary

Consider the below mentioned points while evaluating yourself for being underpaid.

  • In-hand salary (and not CTC)
  • Other benefits like incentives, retirals, bonuses etc
  • You past experience quality (not only no.s of years but also where and what have you done.)
  • Your past performance in the company ( your contribution level, your reach and the profitability you give to the company)
  • Work culture ( sometimes money is less important than work culture)
  • Job security (the market is tough so don’t think that you will always get a better job)
  • Work-life balance
  • Your future position in the organisation.

Still, if you feel that you are underpaid then talk to your manager and HR. If you don’t get a satisfactory reply then you may be open for job search.

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