How to know your own worth and get paid it

Lydia Smith
Writer, Yahoo Finance UK
Companies are usually not transparent when it comes to staff salaries. Photo: Getty

Money isn’t everything, but there’s something to be said for being able to pay your rent and bills comfortably every month.

According to a YouGov survey of over 2,000 full-time employees by Indeed, nearly a third of UK workers are dissatisfied with their current level of pay and 57% said salary is the most important element to people.

Brits want to know how much their colleagues are paid and are prepared to give up their own privacy to get it – 56% back full pay transparency.

When it comes to job satisfaction, work/life balance is an important factor too. But knowing you are being paid the right amount for your abilities and skills is key to feeling appreciated at work.

“Our research shows that while salary remains the most important factor for workers nearly a third (31%) of employees are unhappy with their current level of pay,” says Deepa Somasundari, director of strategic projects at Indeed.

“One of the reasons for this dissatisfaction could be that average pay in the UK has been creeping up slowly over the past decade and has only just nudged past pre-crisis levels, in real terms.”

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“Discussing money with your manager, or prospective employer, can be difficult but there are steps you can take to negotiate the best salary for you,” Somasundari says.

“The first is calculating your worth, which means knowing how much value you can offer an employer through your relevant experience, achievements and skills.”

Do your research

“Research also plays an important role in securing a salary increase and you should have have national and local average salaries up your sleeve in order to set the bar at the right level,” Somasundari explains.

It’s useful to know what others in your field are being paid, but it is more than a little awkward to ask your colleagues what their salaries are – and you don’t know if they’re telling the truth. If you have trusted friends in a similar line of work, however, you may feel comfortable talking about money with them.

An easier way to set your personal salary range is by using a salary calculator based on anonymous surveys from thousands of workers with your job title, skillset and education. You can also factor in where you live too. There are several free salary calculators out there that can provide this information.

Glassdoor also offers salary information about companies or by position using numbers provided directly from Glassdoor users themselves. You can try their Know Your Worth tool to help you understand your potential earnings better.

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Negotiate your salary

If the value of your work isn’t being reflected in your pay, it may be worth trying to negotiate with your employer to secure a higher salary. First, you will need to prove that you are deserving of the pay increase and that your company should be investing in you.

When talking to your manager, be confident and provide specific examples of why you are worth more pay and the contributions you bring to the business. It’s important to be prepared to argue your case, firmly but calmly.

Having a salary range rather than a single figure can help allow flexibility, so you are more likely to reach an agreement that suits both you and your employer. You can also take your time to accept an offer – rather than agreeing straight away, go home and think about whether it is right for you, then either accept or come back with a counter offer.

Think about other benefits too

If your work isn’t able to increase your pay, it’s worth thinking of other ways you can get more from your job. Negotiating for childcare, a gym membership, more paid holidays or flexibility – such as being able to work from home – can all go a long way to improving your working arrangement.

“Not all companies will be in a position to offer a salary increase but there could be other benefits on the table so remember to be flexible and not afraid to walk away if the offer does not fairly meet your expectations,” says Somasundari.

It’s also helpful to find out if a pay rise or promotion may be possible in the future, so even if you can’t get more money now, you know the potential for career progression is still there.

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