Five Steps to Knowing Your Worth & Getting Paid For It

Planning on growing your career & salary in 2021? It pays to know, how to know your worth

2021 is the year to know and get paid your worth. Let’s face it, with the Gender pay gap, which in the UK currently stands at a 15.5 per cent gap between men and women’s average hourly earnings, is not closing at a rate fast enough.

Add to this the fallout from the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic which has disproportionately impacted women, with more job losses occurring amongst women than men, this global economic downturn is the worst since the Great Depression.

In fields such as Marketing, for example, a staggering 60 per cent of female marketers have already left or are considering leaving the profession. A rate echoed throughout multiple sectors and industries. With women of colour being the worst affected by the US Covid shock to the labour market.

Yet despite these disturbing statistics, research by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London has found that Britons are amongst the least likely to prioritise tackling the gender pay gap as the focus to rebuild the economy and society ensues.

The global study conducted by the institute to commemorate International Women’s Day found that women have been impacted greater by the crisis. Yet despite this, only 28 per cent of those surveyed, felt that the gender pay gap should be a top priority focus for the nation as it recovers.

Whilst it’s clear there is a huge amount of work to do to reestablish the economy and women’s careers following the fall out from the pandemic. There are also several steps that women can take to embolden, empower and inform themselves on how to better understand their worth and achieve it, as they embark on up levelling or pivoting their careers as the markets begin to resume.

Here are the Inspired top five things you can do, to know & be paid your worth.

1: Do your research

Whatever your career calling might be, from marketing guru to IT programmer, to data scientist, it’s super important to do your research into what other people are being paid for what you do and what other companies are paying.

This market information is surprisingly easy to access and should really form the first step of preparing for a prospective career move but also in preparation for your annual performance review, as this is the time that pay increases and bonuses are typically evaluated.

Having this information in mind not only helps to inform your discussions around pay and benefits but as knowledge is a powerful negotiation tool, it is also hugely empowering.

Sites such as Glassdoor, Payscale and several others offer salary comparison tools. You simply input details relating to your role, how much you are currently paid, or in the case of job searching, how much the role is offering, the location of where you are looking for work, how many years experience you have, your education and any specialist skills or certifications you have relating to what you do.

The result will be a report outlining the average rate of pay for what you do and where your salary or potential pay rate sits in relation to this. This can be used to support the way you position yourself with recruiters when embarking on your career search and your salary, bonus or raise negotiations.

2: Speak up & ask around

Talking about pay and how much we earn is oftentimes shrouded in secrecy in our workplaces. This is problematic because despite the obvious fact that money is linked to every aspect of our lives. With organizations, no matter their size, having to generate money in order to exist. The culture around speaking about what we’re paid, especially in the UK, is one where talking to others about the topic is viewed as taboo. Worse still in some organisations, the subject is so off-limits, that it’s expressly forbidden to the extent that pay rates aren’t published on roles that are hiring.

The danger with this culture of secrecy is that firstly organisations are placed in a position of power, where it’s possible for them to pay people vastly different salaries unchallenged, pay people less than the market rate, operate with favouritism and bias, whilst paying coworkers with the same level, or in some cases significantly more experience at a rate less than employees who are more in favour.

In the case of women and those from ethnic minority groups, the secrecy around pay can also enable organisations to pay higher rates for male and non ethnically diverse counterparts.

The culmination of these factors means that it’s vital for everyone to become far more comfortable with the discomfort of speaking up, asking around and sharing the details of pay, benefits and bonuses.

The less salary is shrouded in secrecy the greater onus there will be on organisations to benchmark salaries properly and design pay scales that are fair, equitable and not loaded with gender or racial bias.

3. Compile a list of your achievements & strengths

What are you and uniquely you able to bring to the table? It can be super easy to cruise through your career, collecting rafts of experiences that lead to achievements, contributing to your strengths, without actually taking a moment to reflect on what these are and the impact these strengths have had.

Too many people only consider their strengths and achievements when approaching pulling their CV together, or in preparation for an appraisal. Both are great practices, but rather than waiting until the last minute to think about what you do brilliantly and the achievements you have accumulated along the way.

By taking the time to reflect and document your achievements at the end of each week, what you have done well and how these aligned with your strengths and natural talents. You’re increasing your confidence in the abilities that you possess, but also building an accessible record of your achievements, strengths and impacts.

No matter the approach you choose to take, it’s important to recognise the impact of knowing what your strengths are and having to mind your key achievements also. Furthermore, being able to articulate the impact these factors have had on your organisation when it comes to negotiating your salary, pay rise or bonus will be all the more powerful.

4. Be prepared to negotiate

It’s rare, although not impossible to receive the salary or raise you had in mind, straight off the bat without having to negotiate.

In new career searches, the offer management stage of the recruiting process is where a member of the HR team gears up to get into the finer details of the job offer, including salary, signing bonus and benefits.

This is also the stage of the process that if you are working with a recruiter or search consultant, they will be actively involved, but also invested in helping you achieve the level of salary you desire. Particularly as most recruitment consultants receive their fee based upon a percentage of the annual salary that candidates achieve as their salary offer.

Yet, if you’re flying solo, this is the stage of the process where you may be feeling a little nervous or even intimidated by the prospect of negotiating directly with the HR executive or hiring manager of the organisation directly.

However, it’s worthwhile reminding yourself that negotiation is an expected part of the offer management and hiring process. Recruitment and search consultants are certainly prepared for candidates to discuss, deliberate and negotiate any offer presented via them. Yet, so too are HR representatives of organisations directly. In fact, research conducted by, suggests that 84% of employers, actually expect prospective employees to negotiate their salary during the interview and offer stage.

With this in mind, be prepared for any pay or raise negotiation, by having your market research at hand, coupled with the knowledge of your unique strengths and achievements.

5. Consider your personal financial needs

Your salary negotiation will naturally have far greater gravitas when you have taken the time to consider and prepare on the basis of the points above. But your negotiation prep doesn’t stop there, as it’s also vital to factor in your personal financial position and goals at this stage.

Your financial needs evaluation should consider what you need to live on. Considering whether this new role will involve more commuting or car travel? What plans do you have for your future financially, such as buying a house, investments in personal development, pension planning, starting or supporting a family?

Once you have taken these factors into consideration, your salary range for negotiation should include three figures:

  • How much you need to live on: This figure should be no lower than your current level of salary
  • How much you would need to feel satisfied: This will be the minimum figure you would be prepared to accept
  • How much you would need to feel delighted: This will be the goal salary that you are aiming to achieve and negotiate

The latter of these two figures form the salary you are aiming for. When it comes to negotiation, it’s important to start with the higher figure, allowing room for negotiations to take place, yet still resulting in a figure outcome that is commensurate with your expectations and needs.

Bringing it all together

Whilst the work still to do in achieving far greater pay & equity for women has a long way to go. The steps described are here to inform and empower you in taking matters into your own hands.

But in addition to these steps, it is also vitally important that with any forthcoming discussion around pay, you feel confident, assured and empowered in all that you are asking for. It is your worth after all.

Knowing that you deserve what you are asking for is critical too. Yet, if you feel like the offer you receive, based on your research and preparation, is too low then be prepared to negotiate that figure up or to move on to a new opportunity altogether.

What is for you will not pass you and the role aligned to your worth, skills, experience and talents is out there waiting for you to find it.

One thing is for sure, your worth is your worth. Know it, own it and get paid for it — You’ve got this.

Words by Jade Graham: Founder of Inspired a boutique people & talent consultancy, working with early-stage companies on talent strategy and providing coaching to women on all things career acceleration, salary growth & work-life balance.

Management Consulting & Coaching — Passionate About People, Women's Empowerment, Women in Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion and Gender Equity.

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