4 steps that could help increase your salary

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Are you looking for ways to increase your salary? 

In this article we’ll look at 4 steps you can take to increase your earning potential, and how this might look for people with different needs and experiences, with insights from Rhys Baxter, Customer Support Specialist at the Field. 

By the end of this article you should be able to:  

  • Know where to check and compare your salary.
  • Know how to approach a salary negotiation.
  • Know where to look for learning courses.

1. Check and compare your current salary

Comparing your salary against similar roles is important to determine what salary range is accurate, fair and reasonable for you to negotiate. 

As of August 2022 the median weekly earnings for employees, including casual workers and independent contractors, was $1,250 (Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)). But there are other factors that can impact your salary, such as experience, qualifications, industry and location. 

Traditional recruitment processes can also carry elements of unconscious bias that can create barriers to equal pay and employment opportunities for some. 

For people with disability, inaccessible systems and processes in workplaces can impact access to employment. In 2022 the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that, compared to 73% of people without a disability, only 41% of people with disability had income from wages or salary. 

Language barriers and cultural differences can also impact access to high salary employment opportunities for non-Australian born workers. For jobs in 2019-2020, the median annual personal income for migrants was $45,351, compared with $52,338 for the population as a whole (ABS 2022). 

Another factor is gender, with men working full-time found to be earning, on average, $263.09 more per week than women working full-time (Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2022). 

Knowing the salary range for your role, considering your industry, experience and qualifications, can help you understand your value and how much you should (and could!) really be earning. 

Job boards like Seek or Indeed are a good place to start to see how your salary compares in the current job market. 

You can also use free online salary checkers that consider factors such as your industry and location, like:

2. Ask for a pay rise

Did you know, despite only 31% of Australian employees feeling satisfied with their current salary, 42% simply don’t feel confident enough to ask for a raise? (Hays Australia 2022)

But what could be causing this lack of confidence? 

If it’s your first time asking for a pay rise, it can feel like a daunting task. If you have a unique lived experience, other factors might also impact your confidence to ask. 

For instance, if you’re a person with disability, non-inclusive practices in your workplace might impact how effectively you can perform in your role, and subsequently your confidence. 

This can impact productivity, making it appear like you’re not performing as well as other employees, and making it more difficult to ask for a raise,” says Rhys. 

Since 90% of disabilities in Australia are non-visible (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020), simple practices like checking accessibility needs or preferences before meetings and having quiet spaces in the broader office can help employees succeed in their role and feel confident to ask for a raise. See the Field’s ‘5 tips for a more disability inclusive workplace’ for more tips on this. 

If you’re from a culturally diverse background, cultural norms like the emphasis on hierarchy and respect in Eastern cultures compared to Western cultures might influence your likelihood to speak up and ask for a pay rise. Language barriers and gender may further impact this.

Recognising diversity and inclusion in the workplace, like celebrating culturally significant days or facilitating cultural awareness training, can help provide a work environment that empowers employees from all walks of life to have important conversations, like salary negotiations.

Being aware of the different factors that might impact your confidence in the workplace is important to overcoming these barriers and raising these conversations. 

Whatever your experience, we’ve got some tips to help you feel confident about asking for a pay rise!

  1. Gather your research. Highlight your achievements and show how your role and salary compares to others in the current job market.
  2. Practise your pitch. Practising can not only ensure you are prepared, but can also help you feel confident in your abilities and your ask. 
  3. Have an open conversation. Rhys says it's important to discuss the value you bring to your employer in your role and how your lived experience, such as disability, brings diverse ways of thinking, ideas and qualities that can't be trained in other employees. 
  4. Be flexible. Be prepared to compromise and discuss alternatives to a salary increase, such as flexible work arrangements. Remember, negotiation is two-way, and your employer will need to consider what will work best for them as well.  

Bonus tip: Stanley from Beforepay suggests reading ‘Never Split the Difference’ by Chris Voss to up your negotiation game!

3. Learn new skills

91% of employers in Australia are experiencing a skills shortage (Hays Australia 2022). 

According to RMIT Online, the reduced number of skilled workers entering Australia as a result of Covid lockdowns has cost the Australian economy $32 billion! 

Doing your research to understand the current job market can also help you identify in-demand jobs and new skills you can learn that might help you negotiate your salary with your current or potential employer. 

Digital skills are among the highest in-demand, according to insights from RMIT Online and TAFE

Other in-demand jobs for 2023 according to a Hays Australia Job Report are: 

  • Project Managers
  • Early Childhood Teachers
  • Engineers
  • Cyber Security
  • Office Support.

“Being proactive about learning new skills is a great way to demonstrate that an employee not only has the capacity to get their job done well, but to also take on new roles and responsibilities at the same time,” says Rhys. 

Various institutions offer a range of online courses and flexible learning options. 

Here are just a few online learning platforms you can explore: 

Specific employment services like Disability Representative Organisations for people with disability or AMES Australia for people from culturally diverse communities can also help you find the right option for you. 

Check out our article ‘8 questions to ask yourself about HELP loans’ for information about accessing financial support for education. 

4. Look for a new job

Looking for a new job can be challenging and intimidating. But with your research, practise in negotiation, and newly developed skills, you’re halfway there!

To help ease the process and increase your chances of finding the perfect opportunity, below are some tips to guide you on your job search. 

  1. Be clear about what you're looking for. Narrow your job search to help you find the right opportunity. 
  2. Tailor your CV and cover letter to the role you're applying for. Highlight any new skills you've learned, and any key career achievements. 
  3. Allocate time to regularly dedicate to your job search. Be clear about how many applications to submit, and how often, to stay on track and motivated. 
  4. Network. Reach out to your personal and professional contacts for advice and referrals. 
  5. Prepare for interviews. Researching the company and practising your answers to common interview questions can go a long way in helping you stand. 
  6. Communicate your skills and strengths. Speak for confidently about the unique qualities you can bring to a role, including diverse ways of thinking, to stand out from other applicants.
    "This can include telling an employer how you would do the role in a  way that suits you," says Rhys.
  7. Follow up. Stay top of mind by reaching out to potential employers after an interview to thank them and reiterate your interest in the position.

Employers and hiring managers should also consider ways to incorporate inclusive practices in the recruitment process. This can start from the interview process, opening the floor for candidates to feel comfortable discussing any accessibility adjustments (e.g. quiet spaces) or communication preferences (e.g. email v. video call) that can help them perform the best in their role. 

See the Field’s ‘5 ways to get the accessibility conversation started in an interview’ for more tips on ensuring a safe and inclusive recruitment process.

About the Field

the Field is a job site built by and for people with disability that actively connects people with disability with jobs from inclusive employers. It has been built with accessibility and inclusivity at the core of every part of the process - from accessible design and development, to the implementation of unique features. Find out more at www.thefield.jobs

Disclaimer: Beforepay Group Ltd, ABN: 63 6933 925 505. Beforepay allows eligible customers to access their pay and provides budgeting tools. Beforepay does not provide financial products, financial advice or credit products. The views provided in this article include factual information and the personal opinions of relevant Beforepay staff and do not constitute financial advice. Beforepay and its related bodies corporate make no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or reliability of the contents of this blog post and do not accept any liability for any loss whatsoever arising from the use of this information. Please read our Terms of Service carefully before deciding whether to use any of our services.