1st August 2017 - 5 min read
Have you ever been at work and thought to yourself, “Man, I don’t get paid enough to do this..” Well we’re here to tell you that you might very well be right in thinking that. How do you know if the kind of work you’re doing is being fairly compensated for? Here are some steps to take if you want to find out.
One easy way to find out is to look online for job ads that match the qualifications and work description of what you’re already doing. Check out how much pay these positions offer and compare it to yours. You can use either Indeed, PayScale, LinkedIn or any other job search site that displays the salary to prospective candidates.
Another way to do this is to ask around your social circle and see if anyone is open enough to share their salary details with you. Of course, since money might be a sore subject to some people here in Malaysia, we recommend starting with the online resources we suggested above and only start discussing this with friends or family if you discover some findings that may be of use to them also.
When doing your research, make sure you’re not just making comparisons based on pure starting salary. You should also be especially aware of:
Since it’s more expensive to live in some places and cheaper to live in others, it makes sense that wages for some areas are higher or lower than others. So in order to be sure you’re accounting for this potential discrepancy, remember to only compare salaries for jobs that are offered around the same area your current job is. Pay special attention to similar jobs to yours that require frequent travelling, as that would definitely affect how much that job pays.
More experienced people will get paid more even if the work description looks to be about the same. There are plenty of little invisible soft skills and know-how that can only be gained through experience and the value of that experience translates directly to Ringgit.
Employers don’t just compensate employees for their time and effort, they also make sure they can do their job comfortably and effectively. This means providing things like medical coverage, job-specific insurance, special loans, discounts, or even a company vehicle. Be sure to find out what kind of benefits your other industry peers are getting and see if they’re comparable to yours or complement what they’re earning in salary.
Now that you’ve factored those in, you should be able to fully assess whether or not you’re being paid fairly for the work you do, where you do it, and how much experience you have on the job. You should now know whether or not you’re making as much as you should.
First things first, decide whether or not this is a bad thing. Remember, making more money doesn’t necessarily solve all your money problems. If you have a healthy cash flow with enough for savings and investments plus a comfortable emergency fund, then there’s hardly a need to insist on a higher salary right away. Why think like this?
Because depending on your work environment and level of seniority, asking for a higher salary might be at best awkward and confrontational, and at worst, potentially harmful for your job security. So it might be best to think hard about how much this big discussion with your superior is worth to you.
Examine how there may be other extra little things about your current job that makes it worthwhile to have your current salary. Perhaps you’ve made lifelong friends and mentors, maybe the commute is relaxed and forgiving, maybe your hours are super flexible or the company’s vision is something you truly believe in. It’s also possible that the company is in transition and is angling towards eventual salary increments to match the job market in the future. In these cases how much you earn as far as benefits and salary might be already just right for where you are.
However, if you’re already not happy with your current job and you just found out that you’re being paid much less than you should, there are a few things you can do. You can now use this new information as leverage to push for an increment in your salary or for other perks you feel can help you perform better or be more satisfied with your work. Your HR department definitely knows the job market better than you and if you’re a valued member of your company’s workforce, you should be able to use this bargaining chip to full advantage.
You can also use this new information to better evaluate how much you yourself are worth to another company that’s more able to compensate you appropriately. If the difference between your pay and the standard pay of your peers is large enough, we recommend you jump ship as soon as you can.
Of course, sending in your two weeks’ notice means you’re going to end up jobless at least a while before you land a new job that pays more fairly. While you’re in between work, you should have a solid cash reserve in the form of savings to live off of. Check out our comparisons page to find the best savings account in Malaysia to keep your emergency fund in. Good luck out there!
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