Few things are as nerve-racking as asking for a pay rise, in fact, 47% of Australian workers feel nervous or anxious when it comes to asking for a pay rise. Asking for more money can be complex, but doing the right research and preparation can make you feel more confident and better set for success.
How you prepare for a salary discussion can include getting a sense of salaries in your industry, finding ways to demonstrate your performance, and checking in with the bigger picture – including what economic conditions are like.
Then it’s important to set up a meeting with your boss or manager.
Consider your timing. A stressful or busy time for your manager or company, such a during a major project or crisis is not a good time to ask for a raise. Wait until your manager is likely to be receptive to a conversation about salary after a successful project or a good performance review.
Ideally, you want to do this privately and in person, but a video call is an option, too. Ask to set up a short meeting to discuss your salary, rather than bringing it up at an unrelated meeting or without notice.
Practice the conversation with a friend beforehand so you feel comfortable with how you will open the discussion and asking for what you want while listening carefully to objections.
Once you’re ready to have the conversation, try using this script to guide you.
Find out how your salary compares with the average salary for your role, with our salary comparison tool here.
When researching similar roles, you can also use SEEK’s salary filter, which allows you to search for jobs by salary (even if an employer chooses not to show the salary range on the job ad) and compare current roles in your industry.
After the meeting, Jackson suggests sending an email thanking your manager and include the points you discussed. “If there is another conversation to be had, confirm the day and time this will happen,” she advises.
“If the answer to your request is no, you can ask if there is another way to acknowledge your achievements, such as bonuses, a flexible work arrangement, time off in lieu, extra paid leave,” says Jackson. “If there is no leeway whatsoever, your manager will still have gained an awareness of your value. You can ask them for another discussion in three to six months’ time.”
If your manager agrees to a pay rise, ensure you ask for this in writing (email is fine), clarify when the raise will be paid from and suggest that you meet in another year to review your progress and salary again.
Preparation is the key to feeling more confident – you could even practice by running through what you’ll say with a friend. While asking for a pay rise can be daunting, it’s a great opportunity to highlight the value you bring to your role.
Independent research conducted by Nature of behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4800 Australians annually. Published October 2023.