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You’re Being Underpaid. Here’s What to Do.

You may like your job, the people you work with and even your boss – but if you’re underpaid it can be totally demoralizing. Taking home a good wage is why we go to work, so we can pay for a comfortable life outside of the workplace for us and our families. 

If you are starting to think you’re underpaid, then you have to do something about it. You could stay quiet and hope that things will change, but chances are they won’t.

Here is what you should do if you’re being underpaid at work.


1. Find Out If You Really Are Underpaid

Before you go storming into your manager or boss’s office, it’s crucial to make sure you have your facts right. If you don’t, it can create an awkward and potentially job-threatening situation. If you have found out your coworkers are making more than you then you should do a little more digging. Make sure they don’t have special skills or certifications that you don’t have that would qualify them for more pay. Also, find out if they have extra responsibilities that you don’t know about. Finally, check our sites like  PayscaleIndeed or Glassdoor with industry data to see what you should be making. 


2. Schedule A Meeting with Your Boss

This seems obvious, but it’s the most important thing you can do if you’re being underpaid. Most employers don’t just give out raises out of the goodness of their heart – you need to speak up. Don’t be too aggressive when scheduling the meeting, just tell your boss you want to have a meeting about your ‘career path’ and workload. Make sure you schedule it for a time when you both can put your full attention towards the meeting. 


3. Prepare for Your Meeting

So you’ve got your date set, but now what. You can’t go in and just say you deserve a raise and expect to get it. You’re going to need some facts to back you up. Make sure you have some market-related salary data to present that proves that you’re underpaid. Make a list of your achievements, projects or duties that have been a crucial part of the company. Be prepared to show why your indispensable by highlighting your unique skills. These can range from your technical knowledge to being the person at work people trust to come to with their problems. 


4. Don’t Take Bitter Action

If you’re underpaid, you’re probably also feeling very frustrated. This is totally understandable. You are allowed to be upset, but don’t let that show too much at your job. Avoid a negative outpouring of emotion towards your boss or colleagues. You may be tempted to slack off, bad mouth or even sabotage other employees but don’t do it. Remember that you may need this job and your superiors as a reference in the future. You also could risk getting fired with your bad behaviour. 


5.     Consider Outside Representation

If you feel like no one is looking out for your best interests in the workplace, one of the best options is union representation. Unions have set the bar for pay for decades and most union members make more than non-union. The Canadian Labour Congress found that union workers across Canada earn $5.28/hour more than non-union workers. Having a union also helps fight the pay gap with women earning $7.10/hour more on average than non-union. When you have workplace representation you will have a collective agreement that makes sure that everyone’s pay is fair in the workplace and based on seniority and role. They can also guarantee that your employer will not get away with any wage theft – a common problem across Canada. 


Confronting the fact your underpaid at work can seem overwhelming, but it’s crucial that you do something. Earning less than you should can affect future earnings and make you feel depressed and unmotivated. Take these steps and you will almost certainly see a change. If not, it may be time to move on.



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