How to Find Out Whether You Are Underpaid?

November 15, 2013 3 mins read
How to Find Out Whether You Are Underpaid?

When you decide to take a job, how can you figure out whether your future employer has given you the best salary that you deserve?

How to find out the salary scales that your company is willing to offer? Here are six tips to help you decide whether you are being underpaid.

Try to Take the First Step. You can avoid being underpaid by providing a salary range to your employer. For example, if my expected annual salary is $60,000, I will start the negotiation by telling my employer that I want a yearly salary of $80,000-$90,000. The most important question is: how to negotiate your initial salary? Before you come to your employer, gather supporting information which can prove your value. You need to know the average in your industry and to show your skills and experiences to your employer as you always do in an interview. After these preparations, your employer will understand that it is reasonable for you to negotiate your salary.

Use the First Salary Offer as a Starting point. Never accept the first salary offer. Employers don't tend to lay all their cards on that first offer and there is guaranteed wiggle room left. So technically, you can have up to another 10% pay raise compared to your initial offer. One principle says that there is nothing worse than feeling reluctant and uncomfortable when negotiating your own salary. If you talk about your expected salary in a respectful manner, you will come across as confident but not arrogant.

Consider not to Offer a Salary Range. Providing your employer with a specific salary range may give away too much information of your salary expectations. What you can do instead is to give a single number, the highest salary you are worth, which is calculated based on objective evaluations. This can be better than telling your employer your minimum salary expectations.

Do your Research. If careful and thorough research can help you get a job offer, it can do the same thing for you to gain the best salary. Check results of salary surveys that are available, or refer to some specific studies focusing on your professions in your region. You can also try to find an opportunity to speak to HR managers and ask them whether they would like to share some information about salaries.

Get Inside Information. If you happen to have a reliable friend or a supervisor who works for a company, you can ask them for salary information. Although websites such as or can be helpful, you will get more precise information from a current employee than from these websites.

Negotiate a Bonus. You can ask for more paid time off, some assistance for tuition, and other benefits which are negotiable. Meanwhile, you can also try to find out whether your employer would like to offer something more exciting, such as a signing bonus, especially when such an offer is not against the code of conduct of your industry. Bonuses may be calculated in a separate financial budget from payroll checks. In any case, it will do you no harm to ask for a bonus.

Morgan McKinley