How much are you worth?

During a recent coaching session, I was helping someone who was feeling really undervalued in their job. Their concern was as follows:

“I’ve been at my current job for two years and although I started as a junior/relatively inexperienced, I’ve seen grown and exceeded all of the expectations of the role. I am consistently told how valuable I am by clients but when I try to discuss increasing my salary to reflect this, I’m shot down at every discussion. It’s getting to a point now where I’m getting increasingly frustrated about it. What should I do?”

This is something that I think many of us have struggled with. When we were discussing how they got into this situation and where they find themselves now, it was really useful to jot down a timeline of what they had done from a professional development perspective but also personally to become who they are today.

What does value look like for you?

When I was having this discussion with this coachee, we were discussing (quite critically), what value looks like for them, how they are shown appreciation within their company and what they need as an individual. We discussed briefly Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and how this applied to them and what their pyramid looked like. If you look at your current situation, what does it look like for you? Is it enough? Or are you lacking in any areas?

How to show your value?

  • Find examples
    • What shows your contribution to the business or to your role? Have you helped close more deals that anyone else? Have you received 100% positive feedback from clients and colleagues?
    • Provide written examples that show where you’ve overachieved / worked beyond expectations.
  • What’s industry standard?
    • The core of the issue with the coachee is that they were not being fairly compensated for the work that they were doing. Similar roles with people having similar experiences were earning at least 10,000 more a year than the individual.
  • Be critical
    • When looking at your role, write down and analyse critically what you’ve been able to achieve, what has been valuable to learn and what has been the most important for you professionally. When I did this with my coachee, it was really interesting to see how many things they were willing to dismiss as “learning opportunities” which I would consider to be valuable opportunities to highlight their growth in their role.
    • Critically examine what is the most important thing for you to achieve with this discussion. What have you really achieved? Where are your weaknesses?

Once you have all of this, you can use your yearly review / or ask for a in-year appraisal to discuss your development and package.

What is the most important things to remember?

  • Be factual.
    • Avoid using hyperboles or emotions. You want to discuss your value in rational, realistic wording and terms.
  • Be prepared for every outcome
    • What will you do if you do not
  • Do you know what you want?
    • Is it increased salary? Is it a promotion? What do you really want to achieve with this discussion and conversation? Have you really thought about it? I would use this as a basis for your discussion and build from there

What if it doesnt go well?

This is something that you need to prepared for. What if you do not get what you want? Will you look for another job? Will you stay as now?

I have often felt that this question is ignored or overlooked but it is something that you need to be prepared for. What is the consequence of this discussion and are you ready for it? What will it look like for you? Are you prepared for that scenario if it does play out like that?


Knowing your worth and value is so important. It’s not just about salary negotiations but also about how you, as an individual are perceived at work. Do your team mates know your value? Are you appreciated for what you are doing? If you are not, perhaps this is a worth a wider look at the culture of the organisation that you’re working in and if it is the right fit for you. Are you getting what you need? Are you being recognised enough?

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