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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on MadameNoire on August 9, 2016.

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to learn that 40 percent of employees feel that they’re not getting paid enough. Most of us feel like we could use a little more money for the hours we put in at our jobs. But how do you know when you’re actually being underpaid and when it just feels like “I don’t get paid enough for this”?

Before you go to your boss with a request for more money, it pays to know just where your salary falls. Is your boss paying you what you deserve? Are they getting away with paying you pennies for premium work? You might be surprised at what you find after doing a little research.

So what do you do if your paycheck is a lot lighter than it should be? If asking for a raise doesn’t work, it might be time to move on. Now that the job market is looking better, putting your resume in somewhere else might be the way to finally get paid the money you deserve. Here are sure signs you’re leaving much-deserved money on the table.

The Company Is Making More Money

And yet, your paycheck has stayed the same. It might be time for a meeting to talk about being compensated for your contributions to the company’s success. Have examples and figures to prove what you’ve done already.

Your Colleagues Are Living Large

You end up at a dinner with someone with the same job as you and think “How can they afford all of this on a __ salary?”

If that happens to you frequently, it might be time to research salaries for your position in your area (or outside of it if you’re willing to move). Your company might be paying you less for your position — and that’s information you can use to argue for more pay.

You Have a Lot More Responsibility

But no paycheck to match. If your employer isn’t willing to pay you more for more work, you can always put those added skills on a resume to look for the next position on the ladder with the title and salary you deserve.

You’re Just Happy to Have a Job

Times can be tough, but just holding on to any job can be keeping you from the salary and success you deserve. Don’t quit the job you have, but in the meantime, do keep an eye out for positions you’re qualified for that offer a lot more.

You Know Your Worth

If you have something valuable to offer that you think is unique, but you’re not getting paid like it, it might be time to start going out on interviews. Present your skills to prospective employers until you find one who values what you have to bring to the table. Or consider starting your own business where you’re in charge of your hourly wage and don’t have to answer to anyone else.

Your Benefits Package Is Busted

If your benefits package falls well below the average or your company still doesn’t offer one, there are two things you can do: look for a company that gives you better perks, or negotiate for a raise in benefits instead of dollars.

It might be more valuable in the long run. And some employers are more willing to give up vacation days and better dental benefits than more zeros on a check.

You’ve Been at Your Job for a While

When you’re a loyal team member your boss can take that for granted and your paycheck can suffer. If it’s been a while since you’ve tested your skills and years of experience on the job market, it might be time to go on a few interviews. You might be surprised at the bigger salary you can demand when you show that you’re willing to switch companies.

You’re Comfortable with Your Salary

At the moment, going out on a job hunt doesn’t feel worth it for just a few extra thousand dollars a year. But if you consider long-term goals, you might think differently. Add a few thousand to your salary every few years in your career and those zeros can add up. Sometimes it pays to push for more now so it can pay off later.

You Took a Job Below Market Salary

We’ve all found ourselves in a tight situation when the economy is slow and we need work as soon as possible. But now that things are looking up, it might be time to look for a position that offers more for what you have to offer now that you have a steady check coming in.

Everyone Else Is Getting Bonuses…

But you’re not. If you feel you deserve one, it’s time to ask. If you’re still being overlooked it’s time to move on to where you’re more valued.

You Haven’t Received a Raise in over a Year

Most positions come with annual increases in salary, even just to compensate for cost of living increases. If you haven’t had that conversation with your boss, you may be the one who needs to start it.

You Just Know It’s Time to Go

And you’ve been taking longer lunch breaks and cutting corners to pay yourself back. It’s a sign that it’s time to look for another position that will motivate you to work to your potential by paying you what you deserve.

Everyone Else Has Already Quit

If other people have found greener pastures, consider joining them. A job that overworks and underpays most of its employees is unlikely to change for the better anytime soon.

The Business Isn’t Doing Well

Just because they can’t pay you more doesn’t mean you can’t earn more elsewhere. There’s company loyalty and there are career goals. If you don’t feel like your job has the potential to get back on track, move on.


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