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Overworked and underpaid: How do I ask to be fairly compensated?

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Question: “I am the administrative assistant to the vice president.  I have been with the company four years and recently had a wonderful annual review; however, the pay increase was not so wonderful.  I have researched the local job service office, and according to its web site, I should be making about $3.55 more per hour for my position and experience.  That’s more than $7,000 annually.  How do I approach my employer and let it know I am not being compensated fairly?  I have been underpaid since I began working for the company and my workload continues to increase.” — Administrative Assistant to VP

Comments

Present your findings to your employer. It is possible that the boss is unaware of the current market rate for your position. However, be sure that the data you have found is accurate and trustworthy. Also, ensure that you are comparing your position to others based on job duties...not just job titles, as they differ at all companies.

It's worth a shot, the worst thing that could be said is "no."

Sorry I can't be more helpful, but join the club is all I can say!. I've been doing paralegal work that dropped in my lap over a year ago and they just increased it last week. I now am the "lead paralegal for real estate, lead paralegal for corporations, back up paralegal for estate planning and still maintaining my Office Coordinator position that I was promoted to in January 06. When I took that position, I was not doing any paralegal work as I am not technically a paralegal. But shortly after my promotion 1 paralegal left and the real estate became mine. Now they've added these other two departments. Did I get an increase? No! Am I paid equitably to any other paralegal at this firm? No!
It sucks big time!
However, it would not hurt to get print outs of the information you obtained during your search for average wages. I know there are a few websites out there that will give you information based on your geographical area. I would gather as much info to present when you plead your case. Good luck! and stand firm to your belief that you deserve to be paid what your worth. I'm biding my time till my next review :)

I suggest bringing to their attention. Then requesting your annual increase be re-evaluated based on your findings. You could even compromise and add that you don't wish to match your findings but maybe increase your annual rate by maybe $1.75/$2.00 per hour.

One of my friends once was in this position and went on a job interview where they offered her the going rate, then went to her manager and presented their offer and said she would prefer to stay at her current company but just can't pass up this new offer. They matched the offer and she still works there. It is risky but the chance of losing you might make them react. It could also lose trust, so be careful with that one.

First of all, are you treating your job as a job or a career? The reason I ask is in order to have the confidence to ask for a raise, you need to have your portfolio in order. Have you saved all the notes and emails commending you on tasks well done? Do you have a realistic grip on how you compare with your skills to those others who are making more money. And what about your attitude, are you positive and energetic? Next, what about your company, are they the success the other companies are? Like it or not sometimes it is more than just about your salary. But if all your ducks line up, be prepared to discuss your "career path" with your direct report, to impress on him/her what your work related goals are and how you are benefiting him/her.

You do not say whether or not your company has a Human Resources dept/group. We are having the same issues with the "Executive Assistant" position. For some reason, the job description was seriously eroded by the last HR group. The current regime has acknowledged that much of our responsibilities have to be put back in, but as usual, there is no talk of upgrading either the position grade or salary to match the responsibilities. In short, they really don't have a handle on what we actually do for the organization. Unless you become a real squeaky wheel, nothing will happen. Good luck finding time to do all the sqeaking you'll need to do to get the recognition and the $$$.

My theory is that we are responsible for ourselves. That being said, it sounds like you are a valuable employee and you have a positive relationship with your boss. I suggest you research your position on the local market including your job duties, then present them to your boss. You have nothing to lose. I have found if we are proactive in these matters, it reflects on how we will handle other situations. Our bosses depend on us to keep them informed on issues and information, so get out there, do your homework and speak with your boss.

As long as people like Marie just sit back and passively accept being overloaded with work beyond what they should be getting paid for, that's how long this situation will continue. I recently realized that in supporting the CFO and controller of a multi-facility senior living organization, not only was I really an Executive assistant rather than an administrative assistant, but that my pitiful salary was about in the 10th percentile for my area and experience. I presented my results from various search engines, gave a detailed, itemized list of the duties I fulfill along with new skills acquired, positive e-mails, etc, and requested that my title be changed and that my compensation be adjusted accordingly. the decision is supposed to be handed down within a couple of weeks, meantime I am out in the market looking.

I also experienced the same thing where I was four years ago. I went into my boss and told him I wanted my job and salary re-evaluated. He promised to do something about it and I waited for three months. At that point I started looking for another job although I loved every aspect of the position I was in other than the low pay. I know that was risky but I also knew I was underpaid for my position and duties and deserved more. After four years at a new company I have had one promotion from Administrative Assistant II to Administrative Assistant III and I'm making $10,000 more than at my former position. The person they replaced me with doesn't have the skills or knowledge I have and they are paying her more. So I guess they are getting a lot less for a lot more. I would say I got the better deal. It was the hardest move I have ever made in my career and still miss the responsibilities and people. Since then things have changed and I would not want to be there working so it was for the best after all.

Regarding the job service office you referred to, is that the pay for one or two positions they are hiring for, or do they say that is the average pay in your area? If that is the pay for a couple positions, then it does not mean this is the average pay for the job. But if it IS the average pay, that's a whole different ballgame. Besides checking that site, I would also check national survey sites (Google 'salary surveys'" and you will see many sites). Once you gather all the information, schedule a private meeting and discuss it with your boss. It could very easily be a case of the company not realizing what the going rates are for the position. Even if they cannot give you a huge jump at once, if the gave you incremental increases to get to that point, you will be better off than staying silent and remaining at your current salary.

This is what I did a few years ago. I printed up newspaper ads with a similiar job description that also had the wage being offered for it. I also went to Salary.com and a got a report on my situation. This cost a few bucks but it was worth it. It takes into account your education, years of experience, your market area, the size of the company and so forth and it gives you a range of salary that someone in your situation should be getting. I also copied some average salaries from our local Dept of Labor. I presented all of that information to my supervisor. It wasn't easy to present it to him - I'm not that great at tooting my own horn! However, it did bring some good results. Good luck to you!

Another great resource is Office Team's Salary Guide - request one free: http://www.officeteam.com/portal/site/ot-us, good luck!

In major corporations...The salary level depends on your function, your role. (according to the collective labor agreement ERA). So there is a standard mapping defined from a salary group concerning ERA to the jobgrades. There are not that many job grades for an admin asst unless your job title changes.

In major corporations...The salary level depends on your function, your role. (according to the collective labor agreement ERA). So there is a standard mapping defined from a salary group concerning ERA to the jobgrades. There are not that many job grades for an admin asst unless your job title changes.

In major corporations...The salary level depends on your function, your role. (according to the collective labor agreement ERA). So there is a standard mapping defined from a salary group concerning ERA to the jobgrades. There are not that many job grades for an admin asst unless your job title changes.

Whatever way you look at it, we are still trading time for money. Have you considered a part-time home business? Please contact me off post for a few legitimate suggestions.

VY925
rhonda@virtuallyyours925.com

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jean July 13, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Hey I am an actor,writer, hip hop artist out of queens NY. This article caught my attention because of my latest music video. Coincidentally its called UnderPaid. Check it out and tell me what you think please?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7l6ce1YUlE

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