How Do You Know If You Are Being Paid A Fair Salary

Do you earn a fair wage?

We know that wages can be a sensitive issue. It is often used as a measure of personal success, and people are often judged by what they earn on the job. This is why many of us prefer not to discuss it for fear of showing ourselves – or of not measuring ourselves against others.

However, not having a clear understanding of your worth can result in you being severely underpaid. A 2018 Bank Negara Malaysia report showed that the majority of Malaysians were underpaid for their value and their level of work compared to other developed countries such as Australia or our neighbors, Singapore.

The main point that we have to look at is the “productivity payment”Metric, which is basically how they compare the standard amount of value produced and how much an employee is paid for production. In the report, BNM shows how far behind Malaysia is in other developed countries in terms of fair compensation for workers.

Here is a quick example:

In Malaysia, you are paid $ 340 to produce a production valued at $ 1,000. Compared to other reference countries, workers are paid $ 510 to produce the same production valued at $ 1,000.

It’s more than 30% difference in salary!

Although there may be many factors that could affect it, such as currency, purchasing power, etc., it is still a marked difference which highlights the seriousness of the under-remuneration of many Malaysians.

But how do you know if your salary is calculated fairly and what if you are underpaid? Well, in this article, we are going to see what you can do to find out if you are paid fairly and how to approach management for a pay raise if you are not.

Determine your salary level

Reports from reliable sites such as BNM or Hays can be an excellent source of information for a general idea of ​​average salary trends in the market.

However, this information may be too broad to apply to your situation. That’s why we suggest you do the following to understand how your salary compares to the rest of the market.

Use data online

Salary information is now more easily accessible via the Internet, often free of charge.

Glassdoor’s salary checker offers a search function that gives you a general overview of the salary range based on their internal data. The Hays Salary Checker, on the other hand, will compare your salary to that of your peers in your industry, but is rather limited in terms of job categories and area of ​​expertise.

Here’s a quick overview based on the Glassdoor salary checker, just to give you an idea of ​​the average salary for several jobs on the market:

ProfessionAverage salary (per year)
Marketing ManagerRM91,000
Marketing ManagerRM30,000
Human Resources DirectorRM102,000
Human Resources DirectorRM35,000
Commercial directorRM120,000
Sales managerRM44,000
Accounting managerRM84,000
Accounting managerRM40,000
Social media managerRM60,000
Social Media DirectorRM30,000

Another method is to look at job sites and compare your salary to what is offered for similar job offers as yours. Use sites such as Jobstreet or Linkedin to get an idea of ​​the average salary for your work and to determine if you are below or above the market rate.

Remember that you will need to do a little research to find what you are looking for. What we recommend you do is go to the job search function, put your current position (or something similar), compare your current salary to what the results are and this should give you a good idea of ​​your salary level in the market.

Talking to colleagues and peers

If you think you are underpaid and looking for immediate data to confirm your suspicions, you should consider talking to colleagues and peers in your industry.

We know that talking about wages can be a sensitive issue, especially if it’s with the people you work with.

A study was done by Zoë Cullen of Harvard Business School and Ricardo Perez-Truglia of UCLA, who showed that the majority of employees would pay only $ 13 for salary information if they had the opportunity. The same report also mentions that many employees would pay for the possibility of avoiding being questioned about their salary by a colleague.

However, if you approach the subject carefully, it will help you better understand how your current employer values ​​you.

Some advice for this would be to find someone you know well who is comfortable talking about sensitive topics with you. Another tip is to find former colleagues to talk to, as they are more likely to discuss their salary as this is no longer a problem. If talking about direct numbers is still too intimidating, Vicki Salemi of suggests quoting percentages to restart the conversation.

One thing to remember when it comes to talking to your friends about their salary is the fact that there could be various reasons why your salary might be different from theirs. Elements such as different markets, qualifications, experience and company performance can be a factor in determining his salary.

Request an increase if you are underpaid

So you did your research and found out that you were underpaid. What do you do after? Of course, you have to ask for a raise. But to improve your chances of getting this increase, we recommend that you follow the tips below:

Build your case. Going in and saying you want a raise with no data to back you up is a surefire way to be rejected by management. You must provide evidence and data to support your claim for higher compensation. Compile all of the data and research you have done in one document (with sources) and have it with you when you talk to your boss.

One of the most effective ways to convince management to make you a raise is to showcase your contributions to the business. Mention all of the major projects you are undertaking and how it improves their business. Also, try to be as detailed as possible with your metrics (eg “My project resulted in a 30% increase in sales).

Organize a meeting with your boss. Asking for a raise is a big topic that we don’t recommend raising at team meetings. Instead, schedule a one-on-one meeting with your manager so that you can effectively discuss your issues and advocate for an increase in your salary.

Hopefully by the end of the meeting, you and your manager will reach a favorable conclusion. If not, ask them if it is possible to return to the subject over time instead of quitting your job, as the current economic situation may not guarantee you to get a raise in a new position.

Whatever the outcome, determining whether or not you are receiving a fair salary will ultimately help you make better, more informed career decisions in the future.

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