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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Wallis-Smith

When was your last pay rise?

While better money management doesn’t need to mean earning more money, there’s a time and place when your level of income is key.

With the rise in interest rates and the increase in the cost of the weekly shop, now might be a good time to take a look at your salary.

So, when was your last pay rise?

Inflation. Pay Rise. Money Management. Cost of Living

There’s a fair chance it was pre-Covid – so you could be looking at almost 3 years since you’ve had an increase in your pay.

Covid has been such a disruption in our lives, and with such uncertainty across businesses, pay rises were just not on the cards for many employers.

There’s lots of information in the media on why your pay packet hasn’t kept up with your living costs but we’re going to keep things simple and focus on what you can do about it.

It’s up to you

Negotiating your pay rise is often something you need to initiate. Sure, your boss might have given you a modest annual inflation pay rise but it’s rare that an employer will offer you more… just because.

So, if you think you should be earning more, but you’ve been putting it off, why? What’s the worst that can happen – they say “no”.

Be prepared

Check out what's offered for similar positions and roles on websites like seek, or jobsearch.

For a lot of professions and roles, these websites will only get you so far. So, ask your colleagues about their salary – yep, it’s going to feel awkward but an approach of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” could help both of you.

You might also talk to recruitment agencies to get a feel for the job market.

Prepare a short summary of your achievements in the last year, highlighting areas where you’ve gone beyond your job description. This process should also help you clarify:

  • what you’re wanting to achieve

  • what you’re willing to accept

  • what you’ll do if there’s no pay increase – are you willing to quit if you otherwise like your job?

Note: If you’re struggling to identify your achievements, or you’re only just meeting your job description you might need a re-think!

Ask for a meeting

This isn’t the time to surprise your boss – simply request a face-to-face meeting to review your performance and your pay. That way you're both prepared for the discussion.

Don’t be tempted to make your case by email – this is one of those times when the personal approach and being able to read (and respond) to body language is important.

Now you’ve asked for meeting to review your ‘performance and pay’ – so this shouldn’t be a whinge about the cost of living and why you need more money. Your boss knows pay rises are needed to keep up with the rising cost of living – but whether or not you can make ends meet, the choices you make, isn’t their problem.

This is about why you deserve a raise – what you bring to the organisation, why they need you, and not what you need. So, focus on the value you bring and highlight areas where you’ve performed well (or above expectations).

Have your one-page summary printed for the meeting – that way you can refer to it if you’re nervous.

Don’t make an offer

Don’t ask for a specific dollar increase – it takes the pressure off you having to ask, and your boss might need time to consider the case you’ve made.

Instead, ask your boss what they can do and importantly, set a date on when they’ll come back to you.

The offer

Hopefully, your boss comes back to you with a good offer.

Some would say not to accept the first offer and instead, counter with an amount double what they have offered you but be satisfied if they meet you halfway.

Others might suggest countering with an unusual increment implying you’ve given it more thought than just doubling it i.e., countering with a $6,500pa increase instead of $5,000pa.

Personally, each circumstance is going to be different – you know your employer, how the business has fared, what inflation increase you’ve been given (if any), and what your research has revealed about your salary level.

What happens is in your hands – you’ve got to be prepared and comfortable with the outcome.

Not the outcome you wanted?

If the outcome from your meeting isn’t what you’d hoped for, you have some options…

  • If there’s no salary increase on the table, ask what you would need to do to earn a raise and ask for a ‘performance and pay’ review in six months (or an appropriate timeframe based on what you need to do).

  • From your discussions, it might be apparent that there’s no career progression path for you. In which case, it might be time to look at alternative employers. But before you jump ship, make sure you consider other, non-monetary aspects of your employment.

  • Don’t be resentful – this has been a professional discussion, and your employer should treat your request respectfully. On the basis that they value your role in the business, they should be outlining why they can’t reflect that in a higher salary.

  • Depending on your role, can you negotiate working from home – reduced travel costs might be a significant factor for your budget.

On an award rate?

Even if you’re on an award or enterprise agreement, you can still make a case for a pay rise – Are you working to a higher level of responsibility? Maybe you’re training or supervising new staff? Or have you taken on additional roles due to staff shortages?

More quick wins

Whether you get a pay rise or not, you can still improve your money management – every little bit helps. If you’d like to know about more quick wins, get in touch today.


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