• Miss Money Box

How to ask for a pay rise

The gender pay gap currently sits at 15.3 percent. This means that for every dollar a full-time working male makes, a full-time working female makes 84.7 cents. This gap exists because:

  1. Time taken out of the workforce to have children often impacts women’s career progression

  2. Women generally take on a bigger share of unpaid caring and domestic work

  3. Female-dominated industries pay lower wages

Then there’s the issue of valuing worth. Many of us don’t ask for pay rises or contend for promotions because we think that our hard work and diligence will get noticed on its own.

So, how do you ask for a pay rise? Follow Miss Money Box’s Four Step Plan.

The Plan

Firstly, you do actually need to ask. The gender pay gap exists for a reason. Many women don’t ask for pay rises or contend for promotions because we think that our hard work and diligence will get noticed on its own. Assume it won’t, woman up, and ask.


Secondly, just because you show up to work and make typing motions on your keyboard every day doesn’t qualify you for a pay rise.

To really be a contender for a pay rise you must be doing a great job, bringing in more business, improving processes or innovating.

Build your business case

Gather up examples of your work, such as emails of praise and instances of times when you went above and beyond. If you saved money on an account, how much did you save?

If you exceeded a target, by how much? List any extra work and responsibilities you were asked to take on.

Research salaries in jobs similar to your own. Use online salary surveys from recruitment companies to document what other people in roles like yours are being paid. LinkedIn and online job listing sites are also good places to find data on levels of pay.

Talk to friends and contacts with similar skills to yours and document if your salary is below market.

Find out what your boss can afford

Check your company’s annual report or budget to see how they’re doing financially and whether they can afford to pay you more. Taking an interest in the company finances and the business also shows a level of engagement and initiative that your boss will love.

If money is tight, negotiate other terms instead like flexible hours or career development training – this has the added benefit of building your experience and adding to your worth as an employee in the job market.

Don’t play the sympathy card

Just because it’s expensive to attend weekend brunch doesn’t mean you get a pay rise by default.

Your boss does not care how much your rent or mortgage costs or that you have a penchant for designer handbags. Your boss only cares whether you are making the company money or making his or her life easier.

Don’t leave without an answer

Vague promises or excuses are not going to get you a pay rise. If you don’t get an answer, get a date by which you are going to get an answer.

If you get knocked back, don’t take it personally. Instead, write a thank you note reiterating the points you discussed and use this as a platform to reopen the discussion sometime down the track.