A combination of soaring inflation, rising interest rates and the cost of living going through the roof, the pressure on household income has been greater than ever. Rising wages should be instigated to help keep up with these increases, however, if you believe that you were already not being fairly rewarded within your role, the urgency to understand why, and put in place a strategy to counteract this becomes ever more urgent.

If you look around your work colleague and believe that they are being paid more than you for doing the same, or similar, job, then you need to take steps. However, determining whether you’re being paid what you’re worth can be complex and subjective. Take some time to carry out some research and use these following methods to compare and contrast pay levels.

Salary benchmarking

Salary benchmarking is a methodology for keeping track of similar pay grades. Used by companies to ensure they offer the right level of salaries, you can carry out your own salary benchmarking to ascertain the industry standards and averages for your position and experience level. Websites like Glassdoor, Payscale, and Salary.com offer salary reports based on user-submitted data. You can also check job postings for similar roles to see what salary ranges are being offered.

Despite people’s initial reservations about declaring their salary levels, we suggest you buck the trend and be more open about it. Within public sector and government jobs there is greater transparency as jobs are subject to a grading system, and need to be open to public scrutiny. The private commercial sector is more smoke and mirrors. Some companies will actively discourage you from knowing what your colleagues are getting paid – it could lead to a can of worms being opened!. Don’t be afraid to ask the question and do your own research.

Professional qualifications and personal development

If you have invested in yourself both on a professional and a personal level during your time at the company, carry out some research into how where this investment would place you on a salary scale should you go back out onto the job market.

Personal and professional development is an important benefit, and many companies have structured development budgets of anything between £200 to £2000 specifically to support its employees. While this could be used as a trade off on increasing a salary, if you’ve been footing your own development bill you definitely need to highlight how it impacts your employability on the open market.

Prepare a pay review for your performance review

Hopefully your employer carries out a regular performance review. This is your opportunity to present your salary benchmarking findings and make a case for a pay rise. Don’t just make it about other people though. Once you have established a precedent, strengthen your case by highlighting your achievements, your contributions to the company, additional responsibilities you may have taken on, ways in which you have improved efficiencies, or supercharged results.

This is your opportunity to showcase the value you bring to the company, establishing your worth.

You want to leave your employer in no doubt that your salary must be increased accordingly.

Lodge a query with HR

If you are unable to gather the right data, but still feel that there is an inequality in pay, lodge your concern with your HR department. Don’t forget that companies are all bound by the Equal Pay Act of 2010. You have a legal right to be paid in line with your colleagues, male and female. If your employer is shown to be negligent in this you have a strong case.

Trust your instincts. If you consistently feel undervalued or underpaid compared to your contributions and the market value of your skills, it may be time to explore other opportunities or have a frank discussion with your employer about your compensation.

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