Overworked and underpaid?

Are you really overworked and underpaid?

If your workload has doubled but your pay hasn’t increased, you probably are. If you’ve been doing the same job for ten years without a rise, you probably are. If you’ve been covering other people’s jobs due to sickness, maternity cover or redundancy without a pay increase, you probably are. If you have undertaken extensive job-based training or qualifications without any recognition, you probably are. If you’re getting paid less than a colleague who is doing the same job, you almost definitely are.

The best way to establish whether you are overworked and underpaid is to look back at your work contract and job description. Are you regularly working longer hours than you’re contracted to do? Have your duties and responsibilities increased? If you’re going above and beyond the call of duty but haven’t received a promotion, pay rise, overtime pay or additional support, you may well have a case.

What can you do about it?

The fact is, nobody wins in this situation. You are likely to feel frustrated, stressed and undervalued. This may cause you to be absent through ill health or to resent going to work. Meanwhile, your employer won’t be getting the best from you if you are spread too thin. If you leave, he or she will have to find and train a replacement. All in all, it’s best to raise the issue before it becomes a serious problem.

You may wish to:

  • Talk to your line manager
  • Speak to the HR department
  • Have a chat with your union rep
  • Contact a careers advisor

Pray about these conversations before you initiate them and whatever you do, don’t discuss your gripes with your employees. This will leave you feeling bitter and could land you in hot water if your complaints get back to your boss, which they inevitably will.

It may be worth researching what the average market rate for your role is. How much are others in similar roles earning? If you are earning significantly less, you could mention this when you raise the issue. If your duties and responsibilities are greater than those doing similar jobs elsewhere you may also wish to identify that as a problem. 

Work out what you want

It’s important that you convey the fact that you enjoy your job (if that’s the case) and want to stay with the company (again, if that’s the case), but that you feel the current arrangement isn’t fair. Decide what would make the situation better, whether it’s additional pay, more admin support, bonuses for exceeding targets, a bigger holiday allowance, more flexible working hours or a promotion.

Think about what you can reasonably expect to be offered for any additional work you are doing. Consider what salary you deserve based on the skills you are using and the responsibilities you have been given. If you are already applying elsewhere, you can use this as a bargaining tool with your current employer, who may offer to match the prospective salary.

Look elsewhere

In most cases, employers will want to retain loyal staff members and may be willing to negotiate terms if you can show that your current situation is unfair. However, if you’re not getting anywhere with these discussions, it may be time to look for a new post. 


If you’re looking for a new role, check out our latest job vacancies here 

Click here for more careers tips and advice

Joy Tibbs is a freelance writer and editor who regularly contributes to Premier. Find out more at joyofediting.co.uk and find her on Twitter @joyous25

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