Have you researched your salary compared with others in your industry?
If you haven’t, perhaps it’s time to make sure you’re getting paid what you deserve.
I’m self-employed, and I work in an industry (event and promotional marketing) where payment can fluctuate. I’ve been in this industry for a long time (more than 10 years) and I’m extremely experienced and good at what I do. I know the standard payment for events and the minimum payment that I will accept. However, everyone working in the industry has to demand to be paid what they’re worth, or the whole industry’s base payments can go down.
For example, let’s say that I usually work an event that pays $45 an hour. If next year that event suddenly starts paying $17 an dollar, I know my bottom line, and I will refuse to work it.
Now, since I refuse to work that event, a few scenarios can unfold:
1. The booking agency can call me and ask why I won’t work the event again this year, in which case I will explain why I’m not working, and we can potentially negotiate the pay close to or back to what it was.
2. The booking agency can hire someone else who will work for $17 an hour who is inexperienced and bad at the job.
3. The booking agency can hire someone else who will work for $17 an hour who is experienced and good at the job.
The first scenario is good- I have helped maintain what has been the industry standard (or even helped increase it!), and I have negotiated for what I’m worth instead of lowering my standards.
The second scenario is mediocre- if the booking agency hires someone who is bad at the job, the client will probably get upset. The agency will then potentially up the payment next time in order to hire the best workers in the industry. Sometimes the agency still won’t pay, and will just lower standards altogether, even if the client isn’t happy…this will eventually lead to the agency getting fired.
The third scenario is what causes problems- if someone experienced and good at their job accepts payment below industry standard, they will LOWER industry standard for the everyone involved! After all, if Amazon pays great computer programmers 250K a year, but start finding loads of just as great programmers who happily accept 30K a year, the salaries for all Amazon programmers will begin to decrease.
I have an accountant friend who recently figured out that the salary of her colleague DOING THE EXACT SAME JOB with WAY LESS EXPERIENCE was making 30K more than her a year! My friend only figured it out after accidentally seeing her colleague’s paystub. She didn’t realize how much money she could’ve been making, and therefore didn’t negotiate a pay raise.
I’ve known lots of interns who are working their butts off for various companies and making ZERO dollars. The other day, a woman named Jessica Shu posted a list of tech intern salaries in a group called Hackathon Hackers. The list promptly went viral. I’ve included it below:
Dear god!!! That’s some crazy money!
But- it’s great that interns are getting paid! They should be!!! I mean, this kind of internship money blows my mind- but it’s especially insane compared to those interns getting paid $0. ESPECIALLY if you’re an intern in the tech industry getting paid $0 – imagine seeing these numbers and realizing you’re likely getting screwed!
Know your worth…and don’t accept less! (And perhaps consider going into tech…) 😉
If you want to learn more about these numbers, lots of articles from major news sources have been written on the tech internship salaries in the last few days. See here and here and here. And don’t get down about it- just keep working to elevate yourself in your industry, know your industry salary standard, and demand the pay you deserve! You’re worth it!