How to figure out if you’re being underpaid

If you’re a woman you’re probably already being paid less than your male counterparts. According to The Conversation, The South African gender pay gap is estimated to be between 15%-17%. This means SA women would have to work two months more a year than men (doing the same job) in order earn the same.

And we’re not even talking about the added effects of the racial pay gap that still stems from the Aparthied era. 

If you’re a person of colour you’re probably being paid less than your white counterparts. According to this 2016 article in Business Tech there are extremely high levels of wage inequality in South Africa. White workers have consistently earned the highest salary over the decade that was covered in the data. Even though most white workers still earn higher salaries their salaries are now starting to show smaller increases. Which means that slowly pay equality is being achieved - at least where race is concerned. 

With all of that being said, how does it relate to your money troubles specifically? How do you know if you’re being underpaid? And how do you rectify it?

Here’s how:

Use the power of the internet 

You can use Mywage, Payscale and Careers24 to compare your salary to other jobs in the same field. You fill in surveys and search boxes with the relevant information pertaining to your job and find out what you earn compared to the average person in your field. 

Speak to your friends

This might be a sensitive subject, but you might need to get to talking to people who are in similar roles in your industry to find out what kind of salary they’re being paid and how it compares to yours. This is a sticky situation as no one likes revealing what they get paid, but if you could convince your peers to talk about it, it could be mutually beneficial. Ask your friends to introduce you to people in the same or similar fields and slowly get them to talking about salaries. Try not to ask outright, but perhaps try saying something like “I’ve noticed that a lot of people in our industry get paid (certain amount), do you feel like that’s an accurate number?”

Contact a recruiter

Get in touch with recruiters or headhunters that specialise in your field. They’re very knowledgeable about salaries and benefit packages and what you should be getting. Make sure you clean up your CV (you could also ask them for tips on how best to improve your CV) and make your LinkedIn profile as clean as possible. Not only is this an effective way to figure out if you’re being paid industry standard, but if it turns out you’re not and you need to find a new job, you’ve already made the step to contact a recruiter. 

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