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Now’s a Good Time to Take the Salary Survey Again

Topics: Career Advice

Are you being paid enough? Of course, most us wouldn’t say no to a raise. But being paid appropriately for your job, skills, and experience is important for reasons that go far beyond padding your bank account. Linger in a job where you’re paid less than you should be, and you could have a negative impact on your employer’s bottom line — as well as doing real damage to your financial future.

salary survey
Image Credit: therichbrooks/Flickr

Here’s why it’s in your best interest to take PayScale’s Salary Survey again, and generate your free salary report today.

Underpaid Employees Are Disengaged Employees

“You can talk about cooperation and good feeling and friendliness from morn to midnight,” George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak once said, “but the thing the worker appreciates is the same thing the man at the helm appreciates—dollars and cents.”

Makes sense, right? Unfortunately, most workers have no idea of whether they’re being paid fairly. That’s in part because companies don’t do a great job of communicating their compensation philosophy and providing information about how salaries are determined.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

But unless you’re a decision-maker, you don’t have a lot of control over pay transparency at your organization. All you can do is to find out whether you’re being paid appropriately, and base future salary negotiations on that information.

Earn Less Today, Earn Less Tomorrow

At nearly all organizations, raises are calculated as a percentage of current pay. For this reason, it’s essential to negotiate starting salary when you take a new job. Let the hiring manager low-ball you, and you’ll be locked into a lower salary for your entire time at the company.

Failing to negotiate can also haunt you long after you leave the organization. Although Massachusetts has decided to outlaw the salary history question, and other states are considering similar legislation, most hiring managers in the U.S. will ask candidates for their previous rate of pay (or at least a preferred salary range). As a result, agreeing to a salary that’s less than your worth on the job market can affect your pay for years to come — even if you leave the company.

Annual Reviews Are a Good Time to Lay the Groundwork

Believe it or not, performance review time is not the best time to ask for a raise. For one thing, budgets tend to be set for the coming year. There’s no use pushing hard for a big raise, if your manager can only give you a 3 percent increase.

But, that doesn’t mean you should skip salary research ahead of your conversation with the boss — or neglect to follow up after. Performance reviews are a good opportunity to talk about the future, especially if things are going well and you’re hitting your goals. Now’s a good time to talk about what duties your job encompasses and how your job might change in the coming year. Armed with that information, you can go back and take PayScale’s Salary Survey, selecting for the skills you currently use in your job.

You might also take the survey an additional time, selecting the job title you hope to hold next (or the one that aligns more closely with what you actually do all day). In any case, researching salary ranges will help you figure out where you are right now, in terms of pay and career development — and where you want to be, when it’s review time again.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you successfully negotiated for more money? Tell us your secrets in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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