Are You Being Paid What You're Worth?
By Robin Ryan Posted 12-15-2017

Employers are hiring and unemployment rates have taken another dip yet many workers are underpaid for the job they perform. Many people in years past were grateful for their job and didn’t push for a raise. But is that truly a smart professional move?


Anne is a recent career counseling client who asked for help when she found out that a co-worker who held her same job title was making $18,000 more than she was. Anne is a talented IT specialist works for a Boston-area utility. Over the last several years, she has had five promotions but all were simply title changes with no extra salary for taking on the added duties. Armed with convincing salary data and an outline of her past accomplishments, Anne went to HR and to her Boss demanding that she be compensated retroactively to each promotion. She just heard that this plan was approved and not only will she get her $18,000 salary increase, but she’ll receive a very large lump sum for past due wages too. Of course none of this would have happened if she had not finally taken initiative and pushed this hard to be paid fairly.


Anne learned a hard lesson - loyalty, doing a great job and waiting for others to notice does not always equate to a jump in pay. A recent survey on employee satisfaction conducted by SHRM stated that the top item that employees care most about is compensation. Yet when I ask in my classes if the attendees know what their skills and value is worth in today’s workplace - rarely does even one hand go up. This is not good career management.


Do you know what you should be paid? If you are looking for a new job either internally or searching for a new employer KNOWING what your value is will be imperative to getting a fair compensation package.


So here’s how to determine exactly what your true marketplace value is.


Easiest way: Visit where you will find the most current salary calculators.


Another option: Research trade journals and your professional association’s website to search for salary scales. They may or may not note the regional variations. For example, workers in the Northeast US are usually paid higher wages than workers in the South.


Once you are armed with this info you can approach your company and ask for a merit raise or use this information during salary negotiations with a new employer. Either way, your future will be more prosperous and you’ll know for a fact that you are earning the salary you deserve to be paid.


© 2014 Robin Ryan all rights reserved.


Robin Ryan is America’s leading career authority. She’s appeared on 1500 TV & radio shows including Oprah, Dr Phil, Cnn, ABC News and NPR. Robin has a career counseling practice working with works with individual clients across the US helping them land better jobs. For more career help visit:


Robin Ryan is the bestselling author of 60 Seconds & You’re Hired!; Winning Resumes; Winning Cover Letters; Soaring On Your Strengths; What to Do with the Rest of Your Life; and Over 40 & You’re Hired.