Job Bargaining

Reporter: Clare Brady

With Australia suffering a skills shortage there has never been a better time to ask for a salary increase, depending on your industry. But only 25% of employees have worked up the courage to request one in the last year. So what do you say and what's best left unsaid when it comes to selling yourself?

With the help of twenty-something's Rebecca and Brecik; 30 year olds Katia and Stephen and 40 something's Martine and David, we'll find out which age group and which sex performs better when slugging it out with the boss. John Rawlinson, CEO of recruitment firm Talent 2, agreed to put our pay rise candidates through their paces.

Like most members of Generation Y, Rebecca is in a rush to up her salary. By standing firm, Rebecca receives a commitment from John, that her salary will be reviewed in one months time. "It's important to be upfront straight away and say okay, this is what I'm asking for, so that nothing gets lost in translation", Rebecca said.

After giving the boss a succinct rundown of his performance, Brecik manages to twist John's arm. "He tried to talk me out of the 10% salary, but I wasn't interested, I wasn't buying that one", Brecik said. After a strong argument, thirty-something Katia undid her good work by talking John's ear off. Finally he had to interject. Unfortunately by this stage, John wasn't in a generous mood, offering "......a modest, but not insignificant, 5% increase".

"To be honest you never know what you're going to say or what's going to come out, but we can all use those sorts of skills and hopefully next time we'll do a bit better", Katia said. Stephen was after a 15% increase, and after a nervous start, he did manage to convey the extra duties he had taken on. John was impressed, offering to "redesign your job description, and I'm sure we can get the job close to a 15% salary increase for you". "It's unnerving, it's very daunting and it's very not like me to originally go out there and do it", Stephen said.

John then offered Martine "an immediate salary increase of 10%", although that sounds like a good deal, at 40, Martine wasn't about to accept the bosses first offer. She forced him to give a further assurance. "I guarantee we'll put the program in place that will have you getting another significant increase in 12 months time", John said.

"I think at 40 plus to be offered a pay rise is a bonus itself, I think a lot of 40 plus people get a bit stale in the workplace because they're overlooked for promotion", Martine said. When David locked horns with John, the boss wasn't giving an inch and although he didn't receive a pay rise this "employee" did have a small victory. "If you show that level of improvement I'm happy to look again at your salary increase before the 6 month period is up", John said.

And if you are after a pay rise, here are John's tips:

  • § Understand where you add value to the company or organisation.
  • § Ask for regular performance appraisals so you have solid data on your performance - it's important ammunition
  • § Request additional responsibilities and keep a record of the things you do outside your job description.
  • § And never shy away from simply asking the question.