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Am I Being Overworked and Underpaid?

  • March 10, 2020

Feeling overworked is a modern-day problem that is common in a large portion of the workforce. A recent survey found that 28% of employees felt overworked often, or very often, with 55% reporting that they feel overworked most of the time.

Additionally, a CIPD survey found that 1 in 4 employees put in at least 10 hours of overtime each week. “Great!” you might be thinking, “Overtime means extra pay!” – but what if I told you that the vast majority of overworked employees are not compensated, either fairly, or at all for their efforts.

It is this combination of being overworked and underpaid which causes stress and eventually burnout – work-related stress and anxiety now accounts for over half (57.3%) of all sick days taken in the U.K.

To avoid this, employees should be aware if their job is causing them undue stress and what to do if it is. In this article, I will share the recruiter’s guide to taking action if you are overworked and underpaid.

What Am I Worth?

Working out if you are being compensated fairly for the work you do can be tricky. If you have been in the same role or company for a while, it can be easy to accept the incremental changes to your salary and not question if you should be asking for more.

If you aren’t comfortable asking your manager right away, you can do some of your own research. If you work for a large company, take a look at the current vacancies and see what they are offering for similar roles to yours.

When you stay with the same company for a lengthy period, but your salary hasn’t changed much since your initial offering, this can be a sign that you are being underpaid.

Am I Being Asked To Take On Increased Responsibility?

A common problem in workplaces across the U.K. is that the longer employees stay with the same company, they are expected to take on more responsibilities – without any increase in salary.

As you stay and grow with the company, you will naturally learn about processes that are directly in your job description and outside of it too.

Perhaps you had to cover for a co-worker when they were on holiday; your job is in marketing, but you helped out in the accounts department, and now you help them out when they ask you because they ‘know you can’.

Often, increased responsibility comes in the form of a long-term staffing issue – either a co-worker is on long-term sick, or there is a vacancy that your employer can’t seem to fill. You and your colleagues take on the extra responsibilities at first, but these ‘extra’ responsibilities soon become the norm.

There are also physical and psychological signs to look out for which can indicate that you’re overworked; these include-

  • Difficulty relaxing and ‘switching off’
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Loss of interest in things outside of work
  • Increase in, or loss of, appetite
  • High blood pressure

Being overworked for extended periods can have significant adverse effects on your physical and mental health, and it is advisable to decrease back to your contracted hours to alleviate these effects; otherwise, issues can occur for you as time goes on.

Benefits and Perks Aren’t Everything

Many employers believe that offering generous benefits and perks is equivalent to a salary increase – and many employees agree with them.

If you prefer flexible working, a free gym membership or early finishes on Fridays over a monetary reward, then that’s great if your employer offers them.

But if you started your job thinking that the perks were a nice bonus, but you also had salary expectations which have not been met; then it becomes an issue.

If you believe that your employer is offering you extra perks to try and deflect away from the fact that they are not paying you enough, this is a sign that it’s time to act and do something about your career.

Should You Strike a Deal or Not?

If you realise that you are overworked and underpaid, you have two options; either ask for a pay rise or begin the search for a new job.

If you plan to go to your manager to discuss your situation – always go prepared.

If you are planning to ask for an increase in pay since you have taken on more responsibilities, make a list of everything extra you now do (and if possible – the time it takes to do these extra tasks) for the same salary.

You should have had a performance review in the last 12 months; admittedly, this doesn’t always happen in some organisations. If your manager gave you praise for your work during this review, you could use this as an example of your excellent performance.

What Next?

Are you overworked and underpaid? If the points raised in this article sound familiar, there is a good chance you could be.

If you want to talk to someone about your employment options and how to secure a job where you are fairly treated and compensated – get in touch with us today.

We help employees find roles where they thrive, and we only work with the highest-standard of employers in the North West.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, Nursing, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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