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  • Writer's pictureLata Hamilton

Anyone for a pay rise? 5 top tips.

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

One of my clients recently secured a new job in a new firm in her dream industry. I was so excited for her, and she asked my advice on how to negotiate her salary. My own pay has almost tripled in the space of 5 years so I was happy to share some of my top tips.

The first thing you need to know is: "You're earning exactly what you believe you're worth." Even if you "say" you're worth more, the proof is in the pay packet. If you truly believe you're worth more, you aren't going to sit back and let yourself be paid a salary that doesn't meet your expectations, are you?

Now money isn't everything in a job - but it sure is an important component given that you're not working for free! You're working for a business, and so similarly you need to start treating YOURSELF as a business.


It's no secret there's still a hefty gender pay gap between men and women - so much so that, here in Australia, we celebrate this incredulous inequality with Equal Pay Day to highlight the amount of time women spend in the year doing the same work as men for less pay.

There's a lot of theories as to why this pay gap exists... but regardless of why things are the way are, let's move straight on to how to change the status quo.

You need to ask for what you believe you're worth. If you don't ask, why should anyone give it to you?

The linked article from She Said has 13 hacks for getting a pay rise, but I want to weigh in with my 2 cents.


#1 The first step in any negotiation is to be willing to walk away.

That's where knowing (and owning!) your worth comes in. If you don't get what you ask, despite illustrating your excellent performance and all the rationale behind why you deserve a pay rise, ask yourself if you'd really like to continue working for a company that doesn't value you, your skills and your experience.

#2 You need to factor in CPI when you're understanding your ideal pay rise

Your pay rise should be above and beyond CPI. I personally believe that any company that doesn't automatically increase every employee's pay each financial year with CPI is essentially stealing from their own people.

CPI is the cost of living and it increases year on year - it's why a dollar 20 years ago could buy a lot more stuff than a dollar now.

So if your company isn't increasing your pay with CPI each year, you're getting the same amount of pay in your bank account but you aren't able to buy as much with it.

Kinda sucks, right? I haven't tried this myself because I move companies with contracts, but I think every employee, male or female, has the right to ask for their salary to be increased year on year with CPI at a minimum. And if your company does give you an annual increase - do the sums and make sure it at least meets CPI.

#3 Talk about your salary!

I get it - money makes people uncomfortable. And yes you can argue that the only person who needs to know what you're earning is you. But how do know if you're being taken for a ride if you don't know what others at your level are earning? How do you know what to ask for, what you're really worth?

There's some general brackets on industry websites, but there's so many variables and the ranges can be so wide that it's often pretty hard to see where you truly fit. Ask more senior people in the industry what they would place you at. I actually think it's empowering to discuss pay with my friends and colleagues - you can't change what you don't know.

And if you're comfortable talking about pay in a general setting, you'll have so much more confidence when it comes to negotiation time with your boss.

#4 Think about changing companies (or even industries!).

See yourself from your organisation's viewpoint - they're used to you being worth this much. It's hard for them to envisage you being worth more. So yes you can go in and present a case for more money. Or you can put yourself out into a wider sea of employers who will look at you with fresh eyes and assess your skills, experience and personal qualities against the market (rather than against your peers within the organisation). And if you're in an industry where pay doesn't climb as high as you want, think about how you can shift your transferable skills into an industry where you can get more. For example, a school teacher might shift into becoming a corporate facilitator.

#5 And finally, think past money and consider VALUE.

What are some other benefits you could get instead of a pay rise? Maybe it's going from a 10-day fortnight to a 9-day fortnight for the same salary, getting an external course paid for (or time off to attend it), or getting seconded into a project to build new skills and experience. You could go into the negotiation asking for that instead of a pay rise, or as Plan B if the pay rise requested is declined. You're still getting more, and you'll certainly feel like a valued employee.

I'm Lata Hamilton - Change Leadership and Confidence expert, Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, and the creator of the Leading Successful Change program.

Want my script for negotiating a pay rise? Download my free Underpaid & Overlooked Coaching Action Guide here and learn how to change careers with confidence and earn your worth with your next pay rise or promotion.


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