Inflation is eating your salary: Here’s how to get a pay rise

Posted: 6 May 2022 2:55 pm
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With the rising cost of living and mortgage rates going up, now would be a really great time to earn more money.

Inflation rose 5.1% over the last year according to the figures released last week. We've already seen prices of things like groceries, fuel and other goods steadily rising, and it looks like there's no sign of that slowing.

In order to combat rising inflation, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) increased the national cash rate from 0.10% to 0.35%. This means mortgage repayments will be going up too if you're on a variable rate mortgage. For anyone who got a mortgage while rates were at the record low of 0.10% for the last year and a half, this will come as a particular shock.

This puts us in a particularly troubling position when you take into account that wage growth has not risen at the same time. That means that while you might have the same salary as 12 months ago, it's not going as far as it once did.

So, you're going to need a pay rise.

That might sound like a simple idea on paper, but in practice, asking for that pay rise is an uncomfortable experience for many.

If you think it's time your salary went up, here are some things you need to do:

1. Know what salary you want

The first thing to do is know what figure you want to ask for. Heading into the meeting with a clear number in mind is crucial: If you only have a vague salary in mind it will be harder for you to plead your case and it's likely you'll come out of the meeting with far less than you want.

If you're not sure where to start, look at what pay rise you need just to keep up with rising inflation.

You should also take a look more widely at salary figures to make sure you are earning in line with others in your particular industry and location.

2. Speak in person

Talking about your salary expectations can feel like an awkward conversation, so you might be tempted to send an email or at the very most arrange a Zoom call while you're in the comfort of your own home.

Don't do that. Set a meeting to speak in person, if that's possible in your work environment, of course.

It can feel terrifying and embarrassing, but you will be able to take much better charge of the conversation if you're in person. Your manager also won't be able to put off responding as they might with an email, and you won't be plagued by connection issues or distractions as with a Zoom call.

3. Go back over your job description

If you are able to find your original job description, take a read of that again. Highlight everything you have achieved over your time in that role to prove that you fulfil the duties expected of you.

Have there been occasions where you have gone above and beyond? Have there been times your input has generated exceptional results?

Go into your meeting with your original job description and evidence of how you have met all those expectations, and any other ways you have contributed to the company.

4. Prepare notes

Particularly if the thought of asking for a salary increase is overwhelming or uncomfortable, try writing down some key bullet points. Know exactly what you want to say during the meeting so that you don't get derailed and leave without saying everything.

If you're particularly nervous you also might want to draft up a few opening lines. This can help you lead into the conversation around salary, instead of fumbling your words or waiting for the "right moment".

Just remember that going into your meeting without notes will look much better!

5. Follow up

Often, managers will not be willing to commit to a salary increase on the spot. Depending on the company structure there may be other managers to consult with first, or, they may just be holding off the conversation.

Once you've had the meeting, send an email so you have your request in writing. If you haven't heard anything in a couple of days, resend your email with a new note to say you're following up on your conversation.

6. Don't be aggressive

I know you really, really want that pay rise, but remember you have a professional relationship to maintain with your manager regardless of the outcome, so going in hot-headed and demanding might not be the best course of action. Be confident and focused, but stay polite and understanding.

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