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How To Find Out If You’re Underpaid

It’s Equal Pay Day, that oh-so-unpleasant symbolic “holiday” that reminds us all just how long the average American woman has had to work into 2017 to earn what the average man already took home last year.


While this frustrating, seemingly intractable gender wage gap has many underlying causes, the fact remains that you can do all you can to take your earning power into your own hands and negotiate. Yes — I’m asking you to #AskForMore!


That said, many of us won’t even begin that process because we’re unwittingly being paid less than our male counterparts. Salary secrecy, boosted by the taboo nature of discussing money, is alive and well in the average workplace. Despite the fact that it’s often unlawful, many employers forbid employees outright from talking about compensation.


So how do you know if you’re being chronically underpaid? Use these sleuthing strategies to get started:


Hit The Web

In my opinion, this isn’t always the most fruitful option, but it’s certainly the easiest way to get you going: get Googling! Hit up sites like Glassdoor, Salary.com, PayScale, Indeed, Monster, and do some serious digging. Explore positions within the company you’re working in (when that data is available) and comparable ones in other organizations in your market — both in terms of geography and industry.


Think your job title or specific role is hard to compare to any others out there? Do your best to consider what skills and experiences your day-to-day has in common with another position out there, even if the title isn’t a perfect match.


Dig Deep

Work for a non-profit, campaign, university, or government institution? Often those organizations are required to publicly report their expenses – including labor expenses. Scour government reporting sites (you’ll often find these documents through the Secretary of State’s office) or perhaps your own organization’s annual report for clues into where you might get your hands on that information. If need be, make a friend in the accounting department to see if they can point you in the right direction.


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