- There are tools and resources to help you research if you're getting paid what you truly deserve.
- Engage in conversations with industry peers to see where you stand.
- Look up online company reviews to learn about employees' experiences.
- Use a compensation calculator to determine your worth.
Everyone expects to be compensated fairly for the work they do, but making sure you actually are can be tricky. While it might take a little investigating to find out, it’s worth it. You’ll need this information, to negotiate your salary and benefits — whether at your current job or a prospective one.
Let’s look at what the law says so that you know your rights. The Equal Pay Act prohibits compensation discrimination and mandates that employees are “given equal pay for equal work” regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.
In addition to the Equal Pay Act, a rise in new pay transparency laws across the country is making it easier for employees and applicants to learn a company’s salary ranges. With this insight, job seekers and employees can know what to expect at the start of the interview process and avoid the salary negotiation dance later on.
Which brings us back to the question: how do you know you’re getting paid fairly? We’ve got three tips to get you started.
Talk to industry peers
Thanks to pay transparency laws, you can contact a company and ask about their salary range for a job listing or even find it on the listing itself (depending on which state you’re in). Your next step will be to see if the data lines up with their employees’ actual experiences.
Sometimes the simplest way to get the answers you need is to ask around. Understandably, you may not feel comfortable asking your direct peers and teammates about their salaries. If you are, and they’re open to telling you, that’s great. But you may need more data than that — and to be more discreet in how you source it.
Fishbowl is a place to get candid answers and advice directly from a company’s employees. Think of it a little like getting the insider view on the true culture within an organization. Tapping into a company’s existing pool of employees can come in especially handy in situations, like when you’re fielding a new job offer (and wondering whether it’s high or low, compared to other people’s) or when you want to know what other kinds of benefits and support you should ask for from the company.
It’s all about equipping yourself with enough information to make the terms of your negotiations non-negotiable.
Look up company reviews online
- Compensation (salary and benefits)
- Workplace culture and company policies
- Work-life balance
- Career path/ opportunities for growth
- Interview and hiring process
Among the most popular features on review sites is, of course, information about the average salary for individual roles as well as employees’ overall satisfaction with their salary.
Another powerful feature of company review sites is the ability to do comparisons. You can review two companies side by side to see how they stack up against each other. You can also explore how your skills are valued across different sectors, which may give you the notes you need to move into another industry.
Use a salary compensation calculator
Too often, we aren’t paid what we’re worth because we’re undervaluing ourselves. This is where a little preliminary research will make a world of difference. Before any salary negotiation, you’re going to want to check and see what the going rate is for someone with your skills and level of experience.
Salary compensation calculators can reveal how much a person can earn in a given role over time based on factors such as their location and years of experience. They can also give you a better sense of your total pay, that is, how much you will potentially earn from both your base salary as well as additional pay like annual or performance-based bonuses.
While one can always hope that an employer would counter a low offer from an applicant with a higher offer, there’s no guarantee that this will happen. That’s why it’s crucial that you do your due diligence and use the tools at your disposal to get an understanding of what you're worth. Your next step is to advocate for yourself and seal the deal.