Asking for a pay rise is one of the hardest things for young people to do but at some point, it has to be done. Luckily, there’s a smart way to get you through the ‘ordeal’ and it requires you to follow three main steps.
The advice comes from PepTalkHer’s Meggie Palmer who told Vogue Australia some of her key tips for closing the gender pay gap. You’ll need to do a little bit of work but it should help increase your chances of getting a pay rise.
Do some research on the going market rate
You’re never going to get an exact and accurate figure on what others in your field are getting paid but having an idea or some data to back it up will certainly help.
By doing this you’ll have a better understanding of what’s reasonable and fair and whether there’s a big difference in the pay slip you’re receiving compared to others in the same industry.
Palmer actually recommended another method outside of doing some online digging — ask your coworkers straight up. She said it could literally pay to ask a male colleague what they're getting but there are more tactful ways of going about it.
"I’m not saying you should walk up to someone in the office and say ‘Hey, what’s the exact figure on your payslip?’" Palmer told Vogue Australia.
"But you could go up to them and say ‘Hey John, I’m going for this new role. I was thinking that I should be paid somewhere between $50,000 and $60,000. Does that feel about right given my experience and my tenure at the company?’”
Find out your three 'W's
Asking for a pay rise in the midst of a pandemic is going to be tough so it's good to first get a feel of whether now's the right time. If there are redundancy rumours or pay cuts and freezes, it might be worth holding off for now.
But if your company is doing fine, then it's time to forge ahead with Palmer's next main tip — your 'wish', 'want' and 'walk' figures or the three 'W's.
As the names suggest, your 'wish' figure is what you'd love in an ideal world. It's a bit outlandish but you feel like it's worth it.
Then there's your 'want' figure, which is more in the realm of reality. It's the number that seems fair and proportionate given your role and what others are being paid in your field.
Finally, there's the 'walk' figure. It's the minimum amount you'll accept before you walk away from an offer or rejection.
Having these in mind will help you negotiate in the moment, which can often be stressful especially if you limited experience.
Consider other non-monetary additions to your pay package
Despite your best efforts, your request might simply not be met. Palmer suggests in this situation you ask what you need to do in order for the pay rise to be considered and work towards that.
There are other things you can ask to be offered to sweeten the bitter taste of a 'no'. For example, you could check with your employer if there's a possibility of getting more holiday leave, a parking spot at work or be given the opportunity to undertake further professional development in the shape of courses or workshops.
Leaving for other work is a little difficult right now so making do with what you've got will help tide you over until the Australian economy recovers.
This article has been updated since its original publication.