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October 24, 2018 | 05:16 PM
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24.07.2018How to ask for a pay raise

One of the last taboos for most Australians is money, and this certainly applies when it comes to disclosing salaries and earnings.


Modern Australian society is fairly open, and people are generally happy to discuss everything from their personal lives to their strongly-held opinions. But one of the last taboos for most Australians is money, and this certainly applies when it comes to disclosing salaries and earnings.

One of the unfortunate by-products of this is that people are also uncomfortable talking about salaries with their bosses – which means that asking for a pay rise is often a difficult task. But by following these top tips and carrying out the appropriate research, it is more than possible to negotiate a higher salary.

Do research

Before going into a meeting to discuss a possible pay rise, it’s a smart move to get informed. Websites like Glassdoor are useful for working out average salaries in your industry, while being a member of a trade union or a professional association may provide an extra source of advice. Looking at comparable roles in other companies is also beneficial and can give real insight. Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to ask colleagues what their salary is. However, it’s possible that the topic will come up in conversation or office gossip. If this happens, listen to the information and note it down afterwards, but don’t participate.

Go in high

The art of negotiation is a tough one, but a good rule of thumb is that an employee should always open with a request for the highest salary that is reasonable and possible and then work downwards from there. Say an employee is currently earning $30,000 and from their market research they know that a salary of $45,000 is possible. There’s no use going in with an offer of $40,000, because the employer is likely to negotiate it down – perhaps, in this example, to $35,000. But by going in with a $45,000 offer, the employer will know that the employee has done their homework. They will still probably negotiate down, but may end up settling on a higher overall outcome, like $38,000 or $39,000.

Don’t be afraid

When it comes to asking for a pay rise, people are often afraid to go in high because they’re worried that it may harm their standing with their employer. Some people are even concerned that they’re putting themselves at risk of getting fired if they do this. However, it’s highly unlikely that any negative repercussions will come of the conversation, because managers know this is a delicate topic that deserves proper handling. Remember, employees are allowed to ask for pay rises provided that they do so in a manner that is reasonable and polite. The worst that an employer can do is say no.

Accept the outcome

At the end of the day, an employer is not obliged to raise a salary no matter how good the case may be, and there may well be decent business reasons which make it impossible for the boss to budge even a tiny bit. For those who are really dissatisfied with their pay level and their current employer, it may be time to go back to the research into comparable roles at other companies and start applying for new jobs. In some cases, this can even work in the employee’s favour. Once the employer knows that their key staff member is looking for other jobs, they may reconsider their salary decision and decide to give out a raise after all. Good things, as they say, come to those who wait!

Asking for a salary hike is never easy, especially in a society where money isn’t typically discussed. But that doesn’t mean that it should be off the table altogether. By working out where the industry is at and using some top negotiating skills, any employee who wants a raise can develop a great strategy for speaking to their boss – without causing awkwardness.


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