5 Winning Ways To Get Paid What You Actually Deserve

Simple steps to negotiate your dream wage.

Getting paid what you deserve should be simple enough, right?

Not necessarily, according a University of Warwick study which revealed that while Australian women ask for pay rises as much as men, they often don’t get them. But not for the reasons you might think.

People management specialist Karen Gately says one of the most common reasons women (and men) don't succeed in their request for a pay rise is they fail to provide a good enough reason why they should get it.

When it comes to getting the pay rise you deserve, Gately says it’s never too late to stop settling for less and ask for more. “If you don’t believe you are being paid what you deserve, don’t sit back and allow anyone to treat you unfairly,” she says.

Here's how you can negotiate the right wage.

Prove You’ve Earned It

This should be the easy part. You’ve put in the long -- and thankless -- hours, so now you need to relay this your employer. Start by tracking down your original job description and add any additional tasks you now undertake in red pen. This will help to prove what you’re worth. Making a reasonable request starts with being able to explain how your role, experience or contribution justifies the need to earn more money than you already do. “Simply saying you want or need more money isn’t enough to convince most employers of the need to give you a raise,” Gately says.

Prove you've earned the money you want. Image: Getty.
Determine Your Worth

If it’s been more than a year since your last pay rise, it’s time to do some research. Look online for salary rates for similar positions, then ask someone in your network, such as a colleague or former boss. Use their advice combined with your own research to come up with your goal salary. “There’s no point in going into a pay review discussion kidding yourself about what you can expect to earn in the job you’re in,” Gately advises. “Be very honest with yourself about how your role makes a difference to the success of the business, and face the reality that you may need to earn a promotion in order to increase your income.”

Make the First Move

A common reason why people don’t get pay increases when they deserve them is because they hesitate to ask for them. Show initiative by reaching out to your boss, and ask for some face time where you can speak up and let your manager know a pay rise is what you want. “While, of course, it’s ideal that your employer drives the process of ensuring you receive fair remuneration, when they fail to --for whatever reason -- don’t be backward in coming forward,” Gately says. “Do something before you feel totally undervalued and aggrieved.”

Do something before you feel totally undervalued and aggrieved. Image: Getty.
Make Your Case

At the meeting, keep emotion out of your discussions and focus on why you believe a pay increase is justified. “Prepare your case in advance and be ready to talk about your expectations and any specific request you have,” Gately advises. Spend a few minutes walking your boss though your achievements from the previous year, and then reveal the salary you want. But be sure to explain why it’s fair. “Like any negotiation process you're more likely to achieve the outcome you want if you are perceived as being fair and reasonable,” she says. Keep in mind your boss probably won’t be able to give you an answer straight away.

Moving Forward

So you’ve had the chat. And hopefully your boss came to the party. If he said “yes” and you’re now on a more desirable salary -- congrats! But if not, consider why it didn’t happen. Do you need to upskill? “If you’ve reached the ceiling of earning potential in your current job, talk to your manager about what skills or experience you need to take on a more senior position,” Gately says.

And of course, if all the above fails, it might just be time to move on.

Feature image: Getty.