How to Figure Out Your Worth and Get Paid Fairly

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job hunting

In Oct 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Jobs Opening and Labor Turnover Summary report that showed the number of job openings at over 10 million – a record. From “Help Wanted” signs to farewell emails from employees moving on to new adventures, employers are scrambling to fill positions as the economy re-opens from COVID shutdowns. In this market, it is one of the best times to be looking for a new job. With strong demand for candidates with particular skills, many roles remain unfilled forcing employers to increase salaries.

Many became accustomed to remote work during COVID and employers need to be thoughtful about their return-to-work policies as employees are voting with their feet. According to Gallup, the cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary.

With this in mind, you should know your worth. Are you fairly compensated? Do you feel like you are overqualified and underpaid?

The key is to become informed and knowledgeable and do your research!

Online Salary Calculators

There’s quite a few websites that can help provide some insight into your market value.

Glassdoor’s Salary Calculator

Glassdoor’s Salary Calculator allows you to input some details about yourself and learn where you fit compared to salary data collected from others. Glassdoor also provides salary information for many companies. You can look up the same title at your company or look at what someone with your title or at your level makes at other organizations to compare.

The Salary Project

The Salary Project allows you to fill out a 10-question survey about your current salary and background and submit your anonymous salary data. Once you submit, you can review a personalized salary report and gain access to thousands of real salaries that you can access and filter through. has a salary tool where individuals can get an estimate of what they are worth based on job title and location. The results show a normal distribution curve of where you fit.

Payscale’s Salary Calculator

Payscale’s Salary calculator also provides a view into where you should fit based on real-time salaries for thousands of jobs. Provide inputs about your current job and work history and receive a personalized free salary report.

LinkedIn Salary

LinkedIn Salary is similar to the salary tools above where you can get a detailed breakdown and distribution by job title and location.

If you work in Technology or tech related roles, provides great transparency into the various levels and compensation totals for many of the most popular technology companies including Facebook/Meta, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and others.

Ask coworkers and friends

ask coworkers about their salary

Discussing salaries and bonuses might be perceived as taboo but more people are having honest and open discussions about how they are paid. This practice is frowned upon by employers but word of mouth pay transparency helps provide a baseline to measure against. Be careful with this approach because some co-workers might get upset with you if they find out that you are making more money.

When I worked for an investment bank, our performance was reflected in our bonuses and I would ask my peers to gauge where I fit.

Find out from other employers

interview with other employers

Applying and interviewing for other jobs is a great way to see what your market value is. Update your resume and search, LinkedIn, or other job posting websites and apply to positions where you think you’d be a good fit. It doesn’t hurt to get some practice interviewing but you’ll also get a pretty good third-party view into what you’re worth.

A friend of mine worked for the same company for almost a decade and used this method “just out of curiosity”. Well, she ended up DOUBLING her salary.

Once you have an idea of what your market value is, you should think about how you want to progress in your career.

opportunity chalkboard

For me, I find it important to always be learning and growing in your role. If you become too comfortable and not learning or growing, it’s time to change. Those who advance in their careers tend to get out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves.


During performance review sessions, ask for 360-degree feedback about your performance on the job. 360-degree feedback is feedback from an employee’s direct reports, peers, customers, and manager.  This method provides an analysis of how others perceive you. This feedback is important for you to better understand your strengths and weaknesses and areas where you should focus.

Progressing in your current role

Promotions are an indication that your employer appreciates the work that you’ve done and wants to provide you with additional roles and responsibilities (hopefully, with a nice pay bump). Advancing within a company requires you to build relationships outside of your immediate team. To do so, take on challenge or “stretch” assignments and be direct with your manager or your manager’s manager about your career aspirations. Be realistic and set expectations. Some managers receive training how to handle end of year performance discussions – don’t let them convince you “next year” which can be a stall tactic. Set targets for yourself.  Sometimes employers do have fiscal challenges. For instance, in 2021, inflation is raising the costs for raw materials and inputs which might put strain on some budgets. You need to advocate for yourself and show what value you bring to the organization. Never threaten to quit.  

Upskill and learn new skills that make you marketable

skills chalkboard

You should challenge yourself to learn new skills that are required for the jobs that you want and make you marketable for different opportunities. Upskilling is important for both individuals and employers alike.

Indeed recently listed the most in-demand skills in today’s workforce. Having the right skills will increase your likelihood of landing that higher paying job that you want.

Among these top in-demand skills are:

  • Cloud Computing
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Sales
  • Analysis
  • Translation
  • Mobile App Development
  • People Management
  • Video Production
  • UX Design
  • Blockchain

Cloud computing – There is a huge demand as companies move businesses to the cloud. Cloud providers don’t have the staff to meet the demand and are constantly looking for engineers, account managers, sales, and other positions to manage and sell cloud services.

Data Focused Positions including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – The most valuable companies in the world excel at using data and extracting value from that data. The demand for positions involving artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) continues to grow exponentially as more companies build, test, and implement AI models and infrastructure.

Sales – Sales positions are a pretty broad category. Communication, empathy, and flexibility are critical aspects of becoming a successful sales person. Sales positions require you to close deals and grow the business.

Analysis –This is another broad skill that focuses on problem solving. Business problems are growing in complexity and require new approaches such as design thinking, recognizing patterns, interpreting data, and informing business decisions. Many companies search for individuals who can use logic to structure and simplify complex situations focused on decisions

Translation – As companies try to compete in the global market place, some look for candidates with fluency in other languages to translate business content. This remains a growing business around the world as globalization continues.

Mobile app development – More people are using smartphones and tablets and there is increased demand for programmers and development related positions to create user-friendly applications and software.

People Management – Not everyone is cut out to be a manager and companies actively seek individuals who understand people and relationships. People Managers understand their direct reports, what motivates them, and maximizing productivity. Managers need to have soft skills with a command of delegating tasks and communication.

Video production – Video production is a combination of art and technical skills.  Employers are looking for people who can do video editing where they can record, edit and produce content.

UX design – Building a technical product is not good enough, especially if users don’t use it. UX Designers are hot demand as the digital world continues to grow and employers look to individuals who can make design helpful and easy for everyday people.

Blockchain – Everyone has heard of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies that use underlying blockchain technology but companies are trying to leverage blockchain technology to reduce costs, reduce risk, and build trust. This is an emerging technology with lots of potential.

Where do you learn these skills?

learning new skills

Google offers certificate programs for in-demand jobs such as IT support, Data Analytics, UX Design, Project Management, and software development.

LinkedIn Learning with Lynda , Udemy, and Coursera provides thousands of instructional videos and courses.

Community College – Many local community colleges offer an assortment of relevant courses that can build your resume. I highly recommend taking a look at the course catalog and offerings to see if there’s any courses that interest you.

Graduate and Professional Schools offer another way to get a certificate in a particular area. These programs are usually expensive especially from top-tier universities. Before signing up, think about the return on investment (ROI) and time commitment. Many employers are less interested that you got a Harvard Certificate but more interested in the applicable skills themselves.

Some schools offer free access to course materials. If you are determined and diligent, you can get the same elite education for free. Check out:

Money Saving Tip: Check with your employer to see if they provide access to any of the above skill building resources. Your company could have an enterprise agreement with a provider that you can take advantage of.

Also, many companies offer tuition reimbursement. You don’t necessarily need to enroll in a degree course but your company may reimburse you for taking courses that help hone your skills.

Categorized as Live

By Adam

Hey, I'm Adam. I started Wonder of Compounding in 2021 to help others learn about financial literacy and achieve their financial goals. I’m a lifelong student and eternal optimist with a passion for investing, technology and entrepreneurship. I’ve worked in the financial services industry for more than a decade. In 2008, I earned my Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and in 2015, I received my MBA from New York University.

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