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News Article

Overpaid or Underpaid – which are you?

Published 12 March 2015 by

Do you think you’re underpaid or overpaid? Well, now you can find out. Think Money have created a calculator that tells you how your salary compares to others in your area, in your field. Now, this can go two ways – you’ll either be chuffed to bits because you’re above average for your job role, or you’ll be miserable because you are on way less than others who do a similar job.

Whilst it’s good fun to compare yourself to others, it’s only superficial and you should really take it with a pinch of salt. Don’t rush out and start looking for other jobs, enraged by the idea of being paid less than others for the same role. Instead, take some time to really look at what you do and compare it to the job specifications of the other roles with larger salaries, then decide if you’re really being underpaid?

To help put things back into perspective, here are some of the things you should consider when evaluating your job.

Employer’s expectations – This is an easy one to do. Simply find a vacant role, exactly the same as yours, and read through what the candidate will be expected to do. You might be surprised at the huge differences there are between roles with the same job title.

For example, someone who calls themselves a copywriter could reasonably assume that they’d be expected to write different types of copy. However, many jobs that are advertised as ‘copywriter’, also include a whole range of other skills that are, traditionally, nothing to do with writing, such as html, Wordpress, and so on. So, if the job role you are comparing yourself to includes all these other skills, it could explain why it attracts a higher wage too.

Stress levels – You have to think very carefully about what you value in your life and job. Yes, that copywriter’s job in London, for a fast-paced international company, with offices all over the world looks great and the pay is fantastic. But, what kind of pressure is attached to the role? Will you have deadlines that require you churn out copy at a phenomenal rate, day after day? Would you want to work in that kind of environment? If you do, that’s great. If you don’t, then you may have to accept that you’re not going to reach the dizzying salaries that others achieve.

Time spent at work – This is very much connected to the previous point. If your job is hectic and you have strict deadlines to meet, how will you find time to get the work done? You may need to work long hours, including late evenings, weekends and even though your lunch (you should try to avoid this, as it’s really bad for your health and you are entitled, by law, to at least half an hours break at lunch time) for the extra money you’re getting.

Location of job – It’s usually the case that jobs in the city centre will attract a higher wage than those on the outskirts, especially if it’s London. And, even if it seems like you’re wage is less than others for you area, an area is a large place. For example, the North West will include some job roles in Manchester city centre that may be towards the higher end of the scale, and other jobs that are in smaller, surrounding areas, that will almost certainly attract a lower salary. When these are averaged out, it can make it seem like you’re missing out. But you have to ask yourself if you’d really like having to travel into the city centre every day, spending time and money on travel in order to get the higher pay.

So, whilst it’s important to make sure that you are being paid fairly for what you do, a straight forward comparison is not always helpful. Some thought and consideration are what’s needed and, it’s useful to keep in mind that money isn’t everything!