Loving Your Job But Not Your Paycheck

Loving Your Job But Not Your Paycheck

When people pick a career, they usually prioritize finding a job that they're passionate about. And while it's important to do what you love, it's equally essential to receive a fair paycheck. Learn more about what you can do to make sure your salary is where you need it to be.

Why Americans Put Job Satisfaction First

Over the past year, the US labor market has made an interesting shift. There have been more jobs available than unemployed workers. As a result, the market has been in the favor of workers.

Job security is at a high, and workers also take comfort in knowing that they can quit and find a new job immediately. If someone was unhappy in their career path, they could quit and start a new career with few consequences.

Ultimately, people started placing a greater emphasis on workplace satisfaction. If they weren't content with their coworkers, managers, or tasks, they were quitting and found opportunities that made them happy.

The Current Situation

In a recent survey, 51% of US workers were very or extremely satisfied with their job. Furthermore, more than two-thirds of all workers were content with the relationship they had with their co-workers. Even more, were satisfied with their relationship with their manager or supervisor.

In this labor market, people are satisfied with their jobs, coworkers, and managers. Overall, they feel respected and true to themselves.

Unfair Pay Causing Concern

Despite the high level of satisfaction experienced by most workers, there's one area that needs improvement - compensation. Although workers seem to enjoy the workplace, they don't feel as if they receive fair pay. Some workers also feel as if they deserve a promotion.

So how many US workers are unhappy with their pay? Only 34% of Americans said they were extremely or very satisfied with their pay. Similarly, only 33% of them were satisfied with their prospects for promotions.

There are a few factors that contribute to this overall dissatisfaction. For instance, 41% of Black workers say that they've experienced discrimination. Another issue is the high cost of living. In the wake of inflation, a majority of individuals are struggling to pay the bills. Employers aren't increasing wages to combat inflation.

How to Get a Better Paycheck

If you're one of the many US workers unhappy with their salaries, you should take action. Here are a few things you can do to try to get better pay.

Know Pay Transparency Laws

To fight discrimination in the workplace, there are now new pay transparency laws. In California and Washington, employers have an obligation to post salary ranges on their job postings. Find out about your local laws and make sure your employer is in accordance with those laws.

At the end of 2023, one in every four workers should be covered by a pay transparency law. New York City, Colorado, and Rhode Island all require some degree of pay transparency.

Do Salary Research

Before you complain about your salary, you should spend some time researching salary ranges. Find out what someone with your level of skill and experience makes in the same role. As you research salaries, keep in mind that some regions pay better than others. For example, an electrician in Portland might make more than an electrician in a small, rural town.

Once you find a few comparable salaries, think about what you’re earning. Does your salary fall within the average range? If so, are you on the lower or higher end of that range? You can use this information to ask your boss for a raise.

If you fall under the higher end of the range, you might need to reconsider asking for a raise. Unless you have skills or credentials that no one else in your industry has, you might be making the most you can for your role.

Consider Advanced Education

By advancing your own education, you may be able to increase your salary. Typically, employees with degrees or certifications make more money than those with none.

Find out which degrees or certifications people in your industry have. Then, find out if individuals with a higher level of education make more money. If you’ll only make $5,000 extra per year, you may not want to go back to get an advanced degree. But there’s a chance that a $500 certification could give you a similar increase in pay.

Before you decide to go back to school, be certain about your finances and the outcome. Talk to your boss and make sure they’d be willing to give you a raise if you obtain an advanced degree. Otherwise, your money and efforts won’t pay off.

Start the Conversation

If you do some salary research and determine that you’re underpaid, it’s time to speak to your manager. Ask them to schedule a meeting with you, and show up with facts. Explain that you’d like to discuss the possibility of a raise, and then use your research to back up your request.

In some cases, a raise might be out of the question. However, there could be an opportunity for a promotion. Explore your options and have an honest discussion with your manager. During the meeting, maintain a level head and don’t issue any ultimatums. Even if your manager doesn’t agree to a raise or promotion, they might consider it in the near future.

Explore Other Options

If there’s no chance of a raise or promotion in your foreseeable future, then you have two options. The first option is to switch career paths within the company. If you’re not in a role that pays well, you may be able to change to one that pays better. Employers are often willing to give good employees a chance at other jobs, as long as they have a good relationship with the employee.

As a final option, you might need to look elsewhere. While you search for a new job, look for a company that’s similar to the one you’re employed with. In doing so, you can find another work environment that’s right for you.

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