Looking at your paycheck and frowning is not something you should be doing. Your paycheck should be a reason to smile, and you should feel a great sense of pride in earning it.

Unfortunately, half of Americans report they are underpaid. To find out if you’re one of them, consider the following 15 signs to see if you are underpaid:

  1. You’ve Heard Others Earn More

While it’s generally frowned upon to talk about how much you earn, some people can’t help but talk about it. You may have heard some of these people from your office, and the number they speak of is far from what you’re seeing on your paycheck. As long as they have similar job duties as you, this may a sign you are underpaid.

  1. The Average Salary Is Higher Than Yours

If you look on the Department of Labor’s website or Salary.com, you can find salary information for your profession. These are averages, but if you’re earning on the low end of it, you’re probably being underpaid.

  1. People Below You Earn More

An organization can’t survive without having some sort of hierarchy with executives, managers, associates, etc. If you’re earning less than the people you’re managing, you are definitely not making enough. (And it’s likely your fault for not asking for more. After all, they’re willing to shell out more for someone contributing less.)

  1. Other Companies Pay More

With a little research, you can usually find out how much other companies are paying their employees. You could also try applying for other positions similar to yours, and then ask how much the expected salary will be. If the salary they are promising is more than what you’re receiving with tenure at your current place of employment, you should ask for more.

  1. Your Employer Announces Increases in Revenue With No Word About Increases in Pay

Your employer jumps up for joy because you’ve helped the business make double or triple what it was making previously. The only problem is that the business is making more, but you are not.

Bonuses are not always part of a position, but annual salary increases are common. If you don’t receive one, especially when the business is doing well, you are likely being underpaid.

  1. You Earn Less Than Your Friends in a Similar Industry

If your friends are working in a similar industry and make way more than you, it’s either because you’re underpaid or you need to switch companies. Usually, it’s both.

  1. You’ve Worked Hard for a Number of Years With No Salary Increases

Experience pays. If you have been working for the same employer for a few years and you haven’t received a salary increase, you’re probably not getting paid a fair wage. Inflation alone calls for a slight raise.

  1. You Tell Yourself Money Doesn’t Matter

You’re likely working to justify your low salary if you’re telling yourself this. Yes, you may not be working just for the money, but you do need money to survive. Being paid a fair salary will make you feel even better about the work you do. This is especially true if you’re not happy in your job.

  1. Your Supervisor Doesn’t Want to Do a Performance Review

Usually, supervisors will avoid performance reviews because they know employees will ask for a raise. You should have a review annually, and yes, you deserve a raise if you’ve done well the past year.

  1. People Around You Are Quitting

You may not let the salary dictate whether you work for a company or not, but others do. If you start to see a lot of people leaving, it’s usually because they are unhappy with the work environment or with the pay. Keep that in mind as you look at your next check.

  1. You’re Given More Responsibility but Not More Pay

The more you do, the more you should be paid. Plain and simple. Of course, adding one or two tasks to your day once in awhile is normal, but if you’ve taken on a lot more, you’re entitled to a salary increase.

  1. The Company Provides Unlimited Lunches and Laundry Service

Sure, it’s nice to have lunch catered and a laundry service to take care of your business attire, but wouldn’t you rather take care of that yourself if it means more money to do so? This can be especially true if you would get more money in exchange for those perks. It costs a lot of money to offer those incentives, but they aren’t worth as much as receiving an extra $10,000 a year in your paycheck.

  1. You’ve Stayed at Your Job for Longer Than Two Years

Statistics show that employees who stay at one company for more than two years earn 50% less than they should. If you fall into this statistic, it may be time for a change.

  1. You Believe You Are Worth More

If you believe you are worth more than what you’re currently earning, you are likely underpaid. Think about how much money it would take for you to feel appreciated, and that is how much you should be paid — within reason, of course.

  1. You Don’t Have a Sense of Pride

You can feel good about the work you’re doing, but if your paycheck doesn’t reflect how hard you work, you just won’t have the pride you should have. Take a hard look at yourself and ask, “Am I proud of what I earn because of my hard work?” If the answer is no, you’re not earning what you should be.

Think you’re underpaid? Share your story in the comments!

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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

1 Comment on 15 Signs You Are Underpaid

  1. Cris
    February 15, 2016 at 1:54 am (5 years ago)

    Glad I found this article. I hate to admit it, but I just want to say that some of the things mentioned here have made me think. Thank you for writing it, Sarah.


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