Gimme more money – how to ask for a payrise!

Real wages in Australia are in decline, yet business is good…is it time to ask for a payrise?

In February of this year the Australian Bureau of Statistics released wage growth information, stating a 3.3% rise in real wages. When you factor the 7.8% inflation rate there is a gap that essentially means wages are not keeping up with inflation. If you are in a business that is thriving but you have not renegotiated for a few years it might be time to take a look at your contribution and have the chat.

This might be a really difficult conversation to have with your employer, human resource manager or immediate supervisor but you can make it really easy by being very well prepared. Its important to be recognised, and its also important to be realistic.  Not all businesses came through Covid-19 unscathed, inflationary pressures hurt businesses too. If you go in guns blazing with no real idea of the business position, you won’t be taken seriously.  If you go in with the value you add to staff morale by dancing around the office and bringing in cupcakes on a Friday they won’t see this as a great addition to their bottom line.

So how do you start?

You will have the opportunity to talk openly about their pay rate at an annual performance review, or similar one on one with your boss. So get ready!

Here are 8 tips to help you get your pay rise:

Know your worth:

Your pay rate has to be reflective of the value you are adding to the organisation, as well as parity in what others in similar roles (either inside or outside of the organisation) are paid.

Know what you have brought to the role

Be prepared with evidence that you are of more value to your employer than your current pay rate reflects. Remind your employers of the value you have brought to their business (and their bottom line)

Ask yourself:

What you have personally done to increase revenue or save time and money within the organisation? 

What specific value have you added? What attributes do you bring to the role that are exclusively you?

Be prepared

In preparation for your review, ask a friend or mentor to hear your pitch and give very critical feedback from the perspective of your employer.

Be clear about what you want

Be clear about what you are looking for or it could be mistaken for a request for a pat on the back. Your communication needs to be very clear — ‘I would like to discuss my remuneration’, or ‘I would like to discuss how my performance success can be reflected in my pay’. I once went in to my employer with all the intention of asking for a payrise and he thought I just wanted a pat on the head for my good work!

Be prepared to negotiate

Compensation for jobs well done also comes in the form of bonuses and other incentives such as payment of health insurance or childcare.

Stay calm

Be open but not emotional in the conversation.

If you feel you are being shut down, take a breath, and ask for a more suitable time to resume the conversation.  I have had many friends call me in tears from the bathroom mid pay negotiation for some calming words of encouragement!

Be open to feedback

Prepare to hear some constructive criticism

At your review, you might be met with constructive criticism about your performance or your contribution to culture within the organisation.

Take this feedback seriously, not personally. It will help if you have an idea of where you might improve in your role or have identified issues and how they can be addressed.

See NO as an opportunity

Ask for training and development to be able to get to where you want to be and be sure to request a meeting to review the changes (and your pay increase request) at a time that is agreeable to both you and your employers.

Be clear, be strategic and be valuable.


Good luck and enjoy the journey!

Contact Phoebe

Phoebe is available for interviews, guest appearances, article commentary, and talks on a range of topics relating to property, mortgage broking, and personal finance (particularly for women!).