Are you getting paid enough?

The Notorious B.I.G. argues that ‘Mo money’ creates ‘mo problems,’ but Arianna Grande believes ‘Whoever said money can't solve your problems / must not have had enough money to solve 'em.’

Whatever your stance is on money, it’s important to know if you’re earning the proper amount for the work you do. Although there’s a stereotype that interns get paid little to nothing, this doesn’t have to be the case, and it really shouldn’t be true for young full-time employees. If you don’t know what salary you should be making, it’s all too easy for an employer to not pay you enough. 

Especially if you have a college degree and any prior experience, you should be fairly compensated for the work you put in. Below, Ashley, a Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, breaks down tips to make sure you’re receiving a decent salary. Read on to discover how to avoid the “student-pay trap.”Ref. Link

Do your research

The first step in knowing if your paycheck is appropriate is to conduct market research on what others in your industry are getting paid. One of the easiest ways to do this is through websites like Glassdoor, which allow you to search for the pay scale of a specific job. 

However, as Ashley points out, it’s important to remember the different factors involved in pay, including your current location. “When conducting your industry research, is location a factor that you considered? Pay could be $10k higher in a larger city but is it fair to say that your research was consistent with jobs in your geographic area?” Don’t make a snap judgment about your own pay if the salary information you found isn’t relevant to your area. 

Also, some industries are naturally going to have high variation between positions. Be on the lookout for this as well before you determine what you should be earning. 

Negotiate beforehand

Especially if you’re just starting a full-time job, it’s likely you’ll be offered the chance to negotiate your salary. The general rule of thumb is to shoot high because once you throw out a number, you can’t raise it later. You can only go down from your initial bid. 

As Ashley explains, “I would keep in mind that it is uncommon for a company to offer a $10k increase to an employee without actually having received a job promotion. If you believe you are currently underpaid based on the market, this would have been something best discussed at the time you received the job offer initially. Once you are in a job, it's difficult to negotiate a significant pay increase without a promotion. Not to say it can't be done! But I would recommend keeping all of this in mind to set expectations on your end if you do approach your manager.”

Essentially, you should be pretty happy with your number BEFORE you accept a full-time position because your salary is unlikely to drastically increase later on, especially if you maintain the same position. 

Plan ahead

If you’ve done the necessary research and are really unhappy with your salary, it’s okay to approach your employer about a potential raise. Before you do so, make a list of your job duties and performance on them, justifying why you deserve higher pay. 

It’s also a good idea to set a designated time to talk to your employer. Ashley points out that many companies go through an annual performance and merit review; that might be the perfect time to discuss a potential raise. “If there is a standard time of year that your company offers a merit increase for all employee's, that would be the best time to discuss a higher raise. Take that time to discuss everything you have accomplished over the past year and what you have contributed to your team. You should have a good story to share and valid reason for wanting a higher increase. If your company does not offer annual raises, I think it's fair to approach your manager about this at your next performance discussion.”

Regardless of what your position is, you should be fairly compensated for the work you do. Even the Notorious B.I.G. is likely to agree with that. 

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