16 Signs You’re One Of The 68% Who Are Underpaid


Ever find yourself counting down the days until payday, only to realize your hard work doesn’t quite match the numbers in your bank account?

You’re definitely not alone.

A recent Gartner Survey found that only 32% of people felt paid fairly, leaving 68% who felt underpaid. Whether it’s the occasional eye-roll during salary discussions or a sinking feeling every time you check your paycheck, these subtle signals could reveal if you’re part of the 68% who might be underpaid.

Your Salary Isn’t Keeping Up

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One of the most straightforward indicators that you might be underpaid is when your salary falls significantly below industry standards for your position and experience level. Research salary benchmarks for your field to ensure you align with what your peers are earning. If you aren’t getting the cost of living raises at a minimum, then your salary will essentially decrease.

Minimal or No Salary Increases

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If you’ve been with your company for several years and have seen little to no salary increases, it’s a red flag. Frequent cost-of-living adjustments and performance-based raises are typical in most workplaces. If you’re not receiving them, it’s worth addressing with your employer.

Job Market Demands Higher Pay

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When the job market in your industry is booming, and employers are willing to pay top dollar for talent, but you’re still earning the same salary, it’s a strong indicator that you are underpaid. Monitor job postings and industry trends to gauge the current market demand.

You Have a High Workload


Suppose you are consistently overloaded with tasks and responsibilities beyond your job description. In that case, it might be because your employer is trying to get more out of you without increasing your pay. This is a common tactic in underpaying situations.

You Live Paycheck To Paycheck

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If you can’t afford your bills until your paycheck comes in, it’s probably a sign that you’re underpaid (or spending too much money).

Not sure if you’re living paycheck to paycheck?

Here are some signs that you may be living paycheck to paycheck:

  1. Insufficient Savings: If you don’t have savings or an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, it could indicate that your income is tightly budgeted.
  2. Frequent Financial Stress: Constantly worrying about making ends meet and feeling stressed about money matters may suggest a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.
  3. Late Bill Payments: Difficulty paying bills on time or prioritizing which bills to pay can be a sign of financial strain.
  4. Minimal or No Savings Contributions: If you cannot regularly contribute to savings or retirement accounts, it may indicate that your income is fully allocated to covering immediate expenses.
  5. Reliance on Credit: Depending heavily on credit cards or loans to cover regular expenses or emergencies is a common sign of living paycheck to paycheck.
  6. No Disposable Income: If there’s little to no money left after covering essential expenses, entertainment, or non-essential items, it suggests a tight financial situation.
  7. Constantly Checking Bank Balance: Regularly check your bank balance to ensure that it is enough to cover upcoming bills or expenses, which might indicate financial instability.
  8. Unable to Afford Unexpected Expenses: If you struggle to handle unexpected costs, like car repairs or medical bills, without going into a financial crisis, you may live paycheck to paycheck.
  9. No Financial Buffer: Lack of a financial buffer to cover a temporary loss of income, such as job loss or reduced working hours, can be a red flag.

Identify several of these signs. It may be a good idea to reassess your budget, explore ways to increase your income and consider financial strategies to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. Creating a budget, cutting unnecessary expenses, and building an emergency fund can help improve your financial situation.

Colleagues Earn More for Similar Roles

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Discovering that your colleagues with similar roles and experience levels are earning more than you can be disheartening. This could mean your employer is undervaluing you.

Lack of Recognition or Advancement

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A lack of recognition or opportunities for advancement despite your hard work and dedication can indicate that your employer doesn’t value your contributions enough to reward you appropriately.

Stagnant or Outdated Benefits


While salary is a significant compensation component, benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off are also essential. You might miss valuable perks if your benefits package hasn’t been updated in years.

Financial Stress Despite Full-Time Employment

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If you struggle to make ends meet despite working full-time, it’s a clear sign that your current income is insufficient. This financial stress can have a severe impact on your overall well-being.

Comparison to New Hires

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New hires coming into the company with similar qualifications and experience are being offered higher salaries than what you currently earn, which is a strong indication that your compensation is below market value.

Your Skills and Responsibilities Have Grown

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As you gain experience and take on more responsibilities, your value to the company increases. If your salary hasn’t grown with your skills and contributions, it’s a sign that you’re being underpaid.

You’re Doing the Work of Multiple Roles

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Sometimes, companies may combine multiple roles into one job position, expecting you to perform a wide range of tasks. If you’re doing the work of two or more employees but not being compensated accordingly, it’s time to address this issue.

You Feel Undervalued

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Trust your instincts. If you have a nagging feeling that you are not being compensated fairly for your work, it’s essential to explore this further. Your feelings of being undervalued can affect your motivation and job satisfaction.

You Lack Negotiation Success

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If you negotiated your initial salary offer or raises but were met with resistance and have consistently settled for less, you may not be paid what you deserve.

Below-Market Bonus or Commission Structures

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If your job includes bonuses or commissions based on performance, compare your earnings to industry standards. You’re likely underpaid if you consistently earn less than your peers do.

Company Profitability Doesn’t Reflect in Your Paycheck

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If your company is consistently profitable, and you’re aware of its financial success, but your salary remains stagnant, it’s a clear sign that you’re not reaping the rewards of your hard work.

What to Do If You’re Underpaid


Recognizing that you are underpaid is the first step towards rectifying the situation. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Research Salary Benchmarks: Investigate industry salary benchmarks to determine the typical compensation for your role and experience level.
  2. Document Your Achievements: Keep a record of your accomplishments, responsibilities, and any additional tasks you’ve taken on beyond your job description. This information will be valuable when discussing your compensation with your employer.
  3. Initiate a Conversation: Schedule a meeting with your supervisor or HR department to discuss your concerns about your compensation. Present your research and highlight your contributions to the company.
  4. Be Prepared to Negotiate: Be ready to negotiate for a fair salary based on market rates and your performance. Practice your negotiation skills and be confident in your value.
  5. Explore Other Opportunities: If your current employer is unwilling to address your underpayment, exploring other job opportunities that offer fair compensation may be time.