Career Advice

Stuff Stagnating Salaries! How to Ask for a Pay Rise…

Lisa Johnson Posted by Lisa
min read
Alexander Mils L C Ph Gxs7pww Unsplash

According to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, CEO salaries are at their highest levels in 17 years, and they claim company bosses are being paid whopping bonuses just for meeting budget (not exceeding targets). In fact for the ASX top 100 chief executives, their pay rose by 12.4% and for the ASX 101 – 200 company leaders, their pay rose by 22.1% in 2017.

This is likely to hit a pretty sour note for a wide variety of reasons, not the least of which, that wage growth for the nonexecutives in the workforce is barely staying level with inflation.

So now is a good time to talk tactics on asking for a pay rise!

One of the touted reasons given as to why there is a gender pay gap is that women simply don’t ask for pay rises or are not as confident as men asking; so ladies, these tips apply to you too!

  1. Do your research – how much is your job worth in the market?  Good places to research the market value of your job is using sites like  or even doing a Google job search and looking at what salaries are on offer for the kind of job you are doing.  If you are in a non-management role, you can also look at PACT to check what the award minimums are for your job (it’s a good idea to start off by knowing if you are being paid what you are entitled to, now!)

  2. Look back at the past 12 months and document examples of where you not only met expectations, but exceeded them – projects you finished on or ahead of time, cost savings you made, improvements you made to processes, new business you won, how often you exceeded budget expectations, people you successfully trained or mentored in the business – basically have a list of all your achievements.  Don’t forget reliability!  Being reliable is a number one asset in some industries.

  3. Don’t wait until performance review time – your boss will be distracted with EVERYONE’S performance review at that time and may not be able to give your request the attention it deserves. Aim instead to have the discussion when your work anniversary is approaching OR when it’s important to you.

  4. Be realistic!  If you are currently on $65,000 and your market research is telling you that your job is worth $68,000, you are going to be pushing mud uphill if you go in asking for $80,000.  The other limitation that may come into effect, are the salaries of other people doing your job in the company.  You will need to prove you are performing well in excess of your colleagues if you are going to justify asking for more money.

  5. Here is the hard one…Be Confident!  If you are prepared, know your worth in the market, and you can demonstrate the value you have added to the company, then you should be confident in asking for a pay rise. 

What if they say No?

Well, when you are doing your research on how much your job is worth, you can also get a good idea of how many vacancies are out there for someone with your skill set.  This means if your manager is unable to give you the salary increase you would like, you can decide your best course of action.  You may decide to stay and wait until they are prepared to give you more money or you may decide to look elsewhere.

Hot Tip!

If they decline your request for a pay rise and you decide to look for another role, if they suddenly offer you more money when you go to resign, I want you to think about that...if they were prepared to offer you more money, why didn’t they do so when you asked for it?