The real reason why you'll always earn less than you should

You have to know what value you bring to your team and your department (

If you’re sitting at your desk right now, wondering why you aren’t getting paid more, we have answers for you.

If you haven’t been going the extra mile at work, you can be sure you’ll never receive an increase in your salary. Here are a few signs that indicate you’re probably going nowhere slowly.

You don’t know what the market value for your position is
The best time to negotiate a better salary is during salary negotiations, when you’re in the process of deciding whether or not you’d like to accept the job offer. However, if you didn’t research what other people in the same job are earning, you’ve missed the boat.

There are various salary tools, like, that you can use to determine your worth in your current job. You can then use the figure generated, along with proof of your work and achievements to identify what you could use as a basis for negotiating a better salary.  

See: How does your disposable income measure up?

You don’t know what you’re worth to the team
You have to know what value you bring to your team and your department in terms of the questions below to determine whether or not your boss would be more or less inclined to give you a raise.

•    How important are you to the team? Do you play a key role?
•    If you were to resign, and left tomorrow, do you have important projects that would fall apart?
•    When referring to your skill set and knowledge, is it difficult to learn or replace?
•    What would someone else in your field charge for their services? Would they be very costly?
•    Would they require lots of training or is your job easy to learn?

You can’t prove or justify an increase
The first thing you have to think about when negotiating an increase is what the company will gain by giving you an increase. Is there value in your company paying you more money? Do you have a list of your achievements while working in the company? Or do you simply moan about the fact that you want an increase? You need to give your manager proof of why you deserve a raise – use work-related proof, no personal reasons – and remember to be persuasive. If you can’t persuade yourself, how will you sell your value to your employer?

Read: Signs it's time for an increase

You haven’t ever asked for an increase
You’ve never asked for an increase because you feel too intimidated. If this is the case, you can be sure that your manager won’t ask you if you want a raise. If you have asked, but it didn’t go so well, you could sit down with your manager and politely ask what you could do to work towards a raise. Take notes and make sure you list measurable targets and then report on your progress regularly. Ask your manager if they could help you achieve your goals to ensure you’re on the right track. If you do all the things that were asked of you, by the allocated time period, it will be very difficult for your manager not to grant you an increase.

Ready to ask for an increase? Here's how: How to negotiate a salary increase.