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6 Tell-Tale Signs You're Underpaid

Here's what you should consider if you think you're underpaid.

This story originally appeared on GOBankingRates

Only 19 percent of American workers are comfortable with their earnings, according to a recent salary report from job search site Indeed. And when asked how much more they would need to feel comfortable, 54 percent of respondents said they'd have to earn an extra $6,000.

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Do you think you deserve to be paid more at your current job? GOBankingRates asked career experts to weigh in on what signs to look for if you suspect you're underpaid.

(By Terence Loose)

Robert Kneschke | Shutterstock

Your co-workers are getting paid more for the same job

Krystal Covington -- job expert, national speaker and founder of the social enterprise group Women of Denver -- once discovered she was being underpaid in a unique way. "Someone in HR accidentally sent me a spreadsheet with every salary in the company on it," she said. It hurt, but it also spurred her into action.

An introvert by nature, Covington is now an advocate for equal pay for women and has given TEDx Talks on the subject. One of her most powerful tools and pieces of advice to those who want and deserve a raise: practice talking about money. Many -- especially women -- she said, find speaking to managers about their salary daunting.

What you should consider:

Covington suggested first writing down what you think you're worth. Then, ask human resources for your job's range of salaries and try to negotiate to the higher ranges.

How? Practice, preferably in a group, said Covington. While it might not ever be comfortable to ask for a raise, practicing will make it more bearable.

In Covington's case, she negotiated a 10 percent increase in pay. Not bad for an introvert who had always found it difficult to discuss her salary. | Shutterstock

The data is on your side

There are many websites that can help you determine your worth, said Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of Ellevest, a digital investment platform created for women.

For example, she recommended Comparably, which offers salary reports that can help you see where your compensation ranks among similar jobs.

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Meanwhile, " will show you up-front job offers from potential employers, including compensation numbers after you've answered a few questions," said Krawcheck. "And takes you one step further -- not just with calculations of your pay gap, but with step-by-step instructions on how to approach your boss to get the best results."

What you should consider:

Krawcheck recommends you schedule a one-on-one with your manager to discuss what you've found. Obviously, subtlety goes a long way here. You can get a lot more honey (i.e., money) with a smile than a shout.

But make it clear that others doing the same work with the same credentials and experience as you make more money.

Monkey Business Images | Shutterstock

Your peers are getting promotions

Have you noticed fellow employees moving on or out while you stay in the same position with the same pay -- all while you do great work? It could mean that, without knowing it, you have moved up the ladder -- without the pay benefit, said Lauren McAdams, a career adviser and hiring manager at Resume Companion.

"This indicates you now have a degree of seniority, and it also shows that your company has been a little too stingy with salary increases," she said. "In this instance, circumstances are ripe for asking for a pay boost."

What you should consider:

Krawcheck said to schedule a one-on-one meeting well in advance of your pay review. The theme should be: What does success look like for me?

"Ask for specific numbers -- how many new clients, completing which project by what deadline, how many hires, etc. -- so when it comes to review time, there's no room for disagreement," she said. Clarity is your goal.

Monkey Business Images | Shutterstock

You developed new skills but haven’t earned a raise

Have you added skills, a certificate or a degree to your resume? That could be a sign that you deserve more pay.

"Simply putting the time in with a company does this to some degree," said McAdams. "But if you've received certifications or continuing education... but have not been rewarded for your greater effectiveness, now's the time to bring that to the attention of your manager."

What you should consider:

First, check those comparison websites to see what others with your new skills are being paid, said Krawcheck. In fact, do this before you put the time into getting the certificate or degree, and verify that your manager believes it will be a good investment to further your career.

Regardless, set up a meeting with your manager and make your case, clearly showing that the new skill or degree is a benefit to your position and the company at large. And, explain why you deserve a raise.

"If you're told no, don't retreat," said Krawcheck. "There are lots of things that are worth money that aren't actually money, such as a new title, an overseas assignment or a flexible work arrangement. Make sure you walk away with something."

Adamov_d | Shutterstock

Your boss never followed through

Whether it was stated outright or heavily implied, employees are often working under the impression that if certain projects or goals are finished or attained, they'll get more pay. But, like a workplace sitcom, sometimes signals are crossed and the boss forgets all about the deal.

What you should consider:

Krawcheck said in order to avoid confusion you need to have a clear discussion with your manager about what success looks like not just for you -- but for your department and company as well.

Related: What to Do Each Month for a Financially Successful 2018

"By understanding what success looks like for your department or your business, you can potentially aim your career that way," she said. "This also gives you a record of what success is beforehand, so that your expectations are realistic."

Then, on review day, you can bring in a record of what you accomplished and compare it to the listed items you and your manager agreed on beforehand. "Now, you can ask for that raise and be backed by facts of what you are worth," said Krawcheck.

ProStockStudio | Shutterstock

Your company is offering more pay for a similar job

If your company is hiring new people to do a job identical or similar to your own, this is a great opportunity to get a feel for whether you're being underpaid. If you find that your company is willing to pay others more for your position, it might be time to visit the HR department.

What you should consider:

Your HR partner can review your skill set and clearly communicate why your salary is what it is, said Jasmin Forts, a career consultant who runs JobbingWithJas.

"If you communicate the concern with your HR partner, they can share the things you can do to increase your pay, as well as what was shared on your performance evaluation for merit increases or other promotional opportunities based on performance," said Forts.

She suggested a little finesse during these conversations, however, so they don't become confrontational. That rarely benefits anyone.

Forts also said to weigh options, such as leaving your company, very carefully so that you are comfortable with your decision and explaining it on your resume.