Money is an awkward subject for a lot of people. But we’re about to talk about it, so let’s do our best to get comfortable, shall we? Find a cosy seat. Make a cuppa. Settle in.
While it’s my hope that all of you are lucky enough to work in a job where getting paid is just a bonus, that is simply not the case for a lot of people. Being compensated for your work and time is vital, and ensuring that the level at which you’re paid is fair and balanced is just as important.
Where things get tricky, however, is when it comes to figuring out that magic number and whether or not your employer is going to award it to you.
I’m no expert in this area, so I enlisted to help of someone far more clued up than I am. Elyssia Clark, Head of Customer Insights and Strategy at SEEK was kind enough to offer her insights.
Here’s her advice on ensuring you’re being paid the right amount.
First up, figure out your pay range:
Clark shared that there are a few elements that influence your salary range. It’s worth paying attention to all of them.
“…there are many factors that can impact how much money you should be asking for,” she said.
“How long you’ve worked in the industry, your qualifications, your achievements, where you live, the demands for your skills, the company hiring and industry trends can all play a part.
Before you ask for a figure, look into “the average salary for your industry, which can act as a guide”. If you’re not sure where to get that kind of information, Clark suggested checking out the SEEK Career Advice website for its salary break down.
Once you have a solid idea of all these points, you’ll be able to work out a salary range that’s appropriate for you and the role you’re interviewing for.
It’s also worth checking out Fair Work in some cases, just to ensure the rate you’re being offered is above board, y’know?
When you’re in the negotiation stage, make sure you’re prepared:
If you want to land yourself a solid salary, your best move is to go into your negotiation informed. Clark shared that you absolutely should “know current salary trends for your industry”. But in addition to that, you also want to have done some personal planning.
What is your baseline salary?
Clark suggested that you should decide on a “number that would be a dealbreaker that would stop for you from taking a role”. That way, you know you’re not walking out with an offer that will leave you feeling cheated.
Clark also pointed out that honesty is key, here. Don’t inflate your experience and pay range beyond your performance level. It just won’t work.
“If you are dishonest about your current salary or skills, it will quickly become apparent,” she said.
Last, if you’re in a role and worried you’re underpaid, you have options:
This is not the ideal situation, sure. But if you’re in a position and you’ve lowballed yourself, Clark shared there are ways to improve your situation.
“It may be too late to renegotiate once you’ve already agreed on a particular salary, but it can be worth approaching your manager or hiring manager to gain an understanding of how your salary is calculated,” she said.
“Depending on the answer, it may be appropriate to enter into new negotiations, keeping in mind that when done professionally, the act of negotiating a salary can highlight your tenacity, sales skills and confidence.”
Not too bad, right? Clark also pointed out that in cases where a pay increase may not be possible (especially in the current climate) you can look at “non-financial benefits, including flexible working, additional annual leave, paid leave for study or professional development, and volunteering days. These perks can be very valuable to you, without the employer directly increasing your salary,” she said.
All in all, you want to do your best to make sure you’re being treated fairly in any working environment. So always keep informed about what you’re entitled to and don’t be afraid to ask. And if you’d like to hear more expert advice on careers, have a listen to the new SEEK Your Mind podcast.