How can I tell if I'm not getting paid enough?

Your case for a pay rise starts by finding out what you’re worth. In an ideal world, your search would begin and end in your own workplace. Unfortunately, you’ll find most of your colleagues as reluctant to discuss their salary as you will be to ask them!

If you work for an employer which recognises a union for collective bargaining purposes there should be a much better flow of information about pay. And in the public and not-for-profit sectors, transparent ‘pay bands’ will give you a broad view of what others are paid, though perhaps not the exact information you need to argue effectively for fair pay.

For this, you may need to gather information from the wider sector to find the going market value for your skills:

  • Browse job ads to see what other employers are paying for similar roles to your own.
  • Find out whether your line of work carries a ‘market supplement’ – and if so, how much? (And don’t forget to factor in ‘London Weighting’ if you live in the capital.)

The key thing is to line up your evidence, and find good examples of similar jobs both inside and outside your employer.

Of course, another reason some may be underpaid is wage inequality. The days of women being paid less than men should be well behind us, but many women still find they're losing out – in April 2015, the gender pay gap was still 9.4%. See our Equal Pay section for more information. 

If your employer is not paying you at least the National Minimum Wage, it is breaking the law, and you have a right to raise a complaint.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.