Nobody wants to be underpaid, but it’s not always easy figuring out if you are or not! It’s unlikely your employer will approach you and say that you deserve more money than they’re paying you (and if they do, you’ve found a great place to work!) Fortunately, there are a number of different resources available to help you figure out if you’re being paid a fair wage or not.
How do I know if I’m being paid enough?
The first step to determining what your salary should be, is to understand what you’re worth. By knowing what other companies are paying for your position, you can determine if the salary you’re being offered is fair.
- Use our Cyber Security Salary Calculator! You can enter four major factors that can affect salary (location, years of experience, company size and sector) to calculate an approximate salary range for your chosen job.
- Use job boards and search engines to research salaries in specific industries, locations, job titles and levels (for example, the difference between an executive and a managerial position).
- Look at industry specific salary surveys that can help set a baseline for the amount of money people are making across the country (or internationally) for positions in your industry.
- Finally, the most valuable thing you can do: build a good network of trusted advisors i.e. Headhunters who specifically work in your market and industry peers. They will give you a good idea of what salary you should be on.
Once you have a grasp on what comparable others are earning, consider whether there might be additional factors contributing towards their compensation packages such as bonuses or profit sharing opportunities (both of which should be evaluated when considering what kind of salary increase is appropriate).
Now you know how much you should be on, it’s time to compare it with your actual salary, and if it’s well below the average then it’s time to ask for a payrise! We know this can be a tricky thing to bring up, so let’s explore what steps you should consider when you’re thinking of asking for a raise, or a salary negotiation.
How many years of experience should I have before asking for a raise?
This will depend on the job, the company and the industry you’re working in. This is a bit of a hard one to pin down, as it’s up to each company to decide what constitutes ‘experience’ for them specifically. There’s no hard rule for determining how much experience someone needs before asking for a raise, but it can depend on certain factors:
- How long ago was their previous hire in your department?
- What positions did they fill before?
- What did their salary look like at that time compared to now?
In this instance, a solid track record of positive performance can be advantageous. If you’ve gone above and beyond what’s been asked of you, then you may need to wait until you’re ‘experienced enough’ in years, as the value of your work has proven you’re worth the salary you’re asking for.
How do I ask for a raise?
Before you approach your manager about a raise, make sure you have a strong document of evidence and a proven track record of why you deserve it. From a manager’s point of view, asking for more money is asking for validation of your work, and future potential. If you think you deserve more money, you need to demonstrate why this would be fair and justified. The best way to do this is by demonstrating how much value you add on a month by month basis.
You’ll then need to prepare yourself with a business case that explains why it makes sense for your boss to give you a raise now rather than later, or ever! Describe what makes your services worth more than they are right now, then explain why increasing their investment in you would make their services even better in the long run. Don’t let emotions get in the way, this needs to be a factual and measured conversion.
It doesn’t feel great to know that you’re being underpaid — but recognise that there’s power in knowledge. Now you can act on this information by asking for a raise; follow the below steps for best results:
Ask for a meeting
This is a serious topic that you don’t want to just casually mention in your daily catchup! Allow yourself the time to effectively and properly discuss your situation and state your case for why you should be earning more.
Bring the evidence
Just saying “I feel like I’m underpaid” without being able to back it up won’t be enough. If you expect your employer to raise your salary, you need to give them solid evidence that proves your point. Print out / note down your research and make sure you’ve taken them from reliable sources.
Don’t be afraid to big yourself up!
Convince your employer that you deserve to be earning more by highlighting how you’ve contributed to your business’s bottom line. Run through some of the important projects you’ve worked on, and detail how they’ve impacted your business and generated a profit.
Get ready for pushback
We’ve all heard the saying before; hope for the best, but expect the worst! Look up some of the common reasons employers turn down requests for raises, and consider how you might handle these. For example, if you’re told there’s no money for raises right now, you could ask for better benefits (like the ability for flexible / hybrid working) or ask them to agree to have this conversation again in a few months’ time.
How much should I ask for?
If you have been at the company for more than two years and feel your salary isn’t in keeping with inflation or market trends, look on job boards or use a salary calculator to determine what the average salary is in your field. Companies like Glassdoor and Payscale can be used as references to what other companies in your industry pay their employees.
Understand your worth, how much you should expect, and the pros and cons of asking for a raise
Figuring out whether or not to ask for a raise is a considerable decision. You’ll need to understand:
- Your worth and what you’re prepared to be paid
- How much raises cost and the average salary in your industry
- The current state of the business and how well you request will be received
- What you will do if the answer is no
We understand that asking for a raise can be a daunting task, and there are many factors to consider before jumping straight in. But with the right preparation and a strong understanding of your market and what salary others in your industry are being paid, you can put yourself in the best position to ask for a raise.