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Getting paid less than you deserve? Here’s how to fix that.

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Getting paid less than you deserve? Here’s how to fix that.

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Do you have a sneaking suspicion that others are getting paid more for doing the same job as you?
Do you feel that your pay packet is below industry averages?

If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, you are in the right place. In this article we’re going to talk about exactly what you can do to fix salary disparity.

Are you worth a pay rise?

First things first: confirm your suspicions. Are you really getting paid less than what you should be? Then you need to do some research to confirm and get some figures to compare to.

Get in touch with industry averages by having a look at and Doing a google search is also really helpful. A good formula to use for searching is [job role] salary [location], for example: ‘receptionist salary NZ’. This technique works best if you make it as specific as you can, as ‘Dental receptionist salary Auckland’ is going to provide you much more accurate results than the previous example.

Get a feel for the right salary for your role from friends and other co-workers. Try and think outside the box. Do you have any friends of friends that are recruiters? If you’re uncomfortable discussing salaries with your immediate co-workers, are there some role models or managers in other divisions you can talk to who will likely have a good idea about the salary range for your role? The best way to go about this is by asking as a friend looking for advice and you will be sure to get a much better result.

Script to use for asking about salary with a co-worker:

You: “Hey [name], I need some advice. Have you got a minute?”
(wait for them to welcome a discussion at this time)
You: “Thanks, it’s a bit awkward. I’ve been wondering if I’m being underpaid in my role. I currently make $xx, what do you think?”

Quite often they will share what they’re earning, and if not, you will most likely get a read from their response as to how you are getting paid compares. Watch for their facial expressions or body language as a reaction.

Build out your value proposition.

If you’ve been through the above and all the indicators point to you being underpaid, then it’s time to put together your justification for asking for a pay rise. You knowing you’re underpaid is very different to your boss agreeing that you’re underpaid!

To start with, dig out your job description. Create a list of all the things you are doing over and above what’s listed on there. Think about all the ways you make your boss’s life easier and how you are contributing to the success to the company, then add these to the list.

Next, it’s time to take all these things that you’re doing and identify the benefits or results of each. The things you do in your role are probably not that interesting (sad, but true). The results or benefits of the things you do are much more interesting. For example, if one of the things you do is to stay late to make sure customer queries are answered before you go home, the benefits of this are better customer satisfaction, more sales, less complaints – all things your boss cares greatly about. These kinds of benefits are what you want to be highlighting to your boss when you ask for a raise.

Finally, assign a dollar figure to the benefits that you bring to the company where possible. For example, you could be a software developer that has written a piece of code that saves the company 100 hours per year. If the cost per hour is $50, then you’ve saved the company $5000 per year. The more you can show this direct relationship between what you do and how much money the company is saving or adding to their bottom line, the more your boss will want to give you a pay rise.

For further help with this task, check out our ‘Hidden Value Spotlight Template’ which you can use to get your boss excited about what you’re doing.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

You’ve now got some great justification to get your boss on board with giving you a pay rise. But, before you ‘pop the question’ you should prepare for the worst. There can be circumstances outside you and your boss’s control which might prevent you from getting a pay rise at this time. In this scenario, you want to make the most of the opportunity and grease the wheels for next time.

If the answer to your pay rise request is no, then ask your boss what needs to change for you to be able to get a pay rise in the future. If the reason for them saying no is to do with the financial results of the company or the timing, then ask your boss when the best time would be to bring it up again and put a reminder in your calendar to follow up.

If your boss has concerns about your performance, then discuss with them what you need to be doing to get a pay rise. Note these down and make sure to put their feedback into action. In your next pay rise meeting you can show your boss how you’ve progressed in these areas, but if you haven’t made any changes, then you will be able to understand why they decline your request again.

Alright! Now hopefully you’ve got a concrete list of benefits that you bring to the company so that you can discuss these with your boss. You should also know how to make the most out of that all-important salary review meeting, no matter what happens.

All the best with your pay rise conversation!



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