To earn more money in your job you need to work harder, be seen as a great employee, and produce great results. That has always been true. However, there is a second truth that many people have witnessed. Many people who do these things do not get it accurately reflected in their pay and many people who don’t do these things seem to be earning more money. One of the most important things to enable you to know if you are earning the right amount or not is to work on your relationships.
Many people want to talk about the importance of equal pay in the modern era. That is something every company should pursue. The reality is that companies are also very interested in saving as much money as they can and they have no reason to give away any of it just to be nice. Consider what an employment contract is. A company is paying you to do a job. It is in their interest to pay you an amount that you happy with to do that job. While smart companies don’t want to give you the minimum you would accept they don’t want to pay more than what you would consider fair either. For that reason salary negotiations usually take place.
This means that many people in a company are doing the same job but earning different amounts. This usually isn’t based on their workability but based on what they agreed at the start of their contract if they have received outside offers since then, or how well they have negotiated with their boss. To put you in the best position to negotiate with your boss you must know what others are earning at your level both inside your company and in the wider workforce. To do this you need to have relationships.
How much we are paid is often treated as a taboo subject in the workplace. When I first entered the workplace I was confused about why. Surely if we all knew what everyone earned we would all earn more. The silence we perpetuate gives the employer the most information. Those with the most information have the most power. Yet as I started to grow in a company, I realized why it was taboo and I agree with it.
I once worked in a company as an analyst and was receiving a modest wage. There was one other person in the company at my level and I imagine they were receiving the same amount. An outside company then came and tried to poach me. They offered me a massive increase in wages and when I showed my employer, they matched it. I immediately got a 30% salary increase, for doing no additional work. Clearly, I was being wrongly paid before this time. However what about my coworker? I could not tell him that I now earned much more than him, so from that day on, I treated my salary with a little bit of silence.
While most people don’t like to share the amount they earn with coworkers, they are happy to if there is a level of trust. I couldn’t tell my coworker what I earned because I couldn’t trust that he would not just knock on the boss’s door the next day and complain. If I had trusted him more I could have let him know we were both being underpaid previously and helped him get what he deserved.
If you can build trust in the workplace with your colleagues and in the wider market with your peers and those a level ahead of you, you can get a great understanding of what the average wage is and how much you can expect to earn. Having this information in your arsenal makes you well equipped in any contract negotiations.