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Career

How to ask for a pay rise... because, you're worth it

Let’s be honest here - how many times have you wished you were earning more money in your role? And yet, how many of those times have you actually approached your manager about a pay rise?

I’ve worked in a lot of workplaces alongside highly capable and inspiring women. They are equally hard working and just as dedicated as their male counterparts, and yet they continue to steer clear of the salary discussion while their male colleagues climb the financial ladder.

It baffles me that women are less likely to advocate on their own behalf, and yet...I am no different.

It took me years to build up the courage to ask for my first pay rise. After spending countless hours outside the standard 9-5 contributing to the business in extracurricular ways and with a bit of encouragement from a male counterpart who, by the way, requested a pay rise annually, I built up the courage to ask my manager for what I thought I was worth. And to my surprise, after approving my pay rise, my male manager asked why I hadn’t approached him earlier.

Fear of rejection and a lack of understanding around how to approach the subject are holding us back from getting the money we deserve for the value we give.

So girls, here’s three strategies for how to overcome the fear and ask your manager to ‘show you the money’.

  1. Understand what your worth.

Generally, your employer will have a financial range at which they are willing to pay someone for a particular role. Take some time to research salaries for your role by accessing free online salary surveys and speaking to colleagues in your industry. If you have more experience than others in your pay scale or you do work beyond your role, these are opportunities to ask your employer to compensate you for the value you provide.

Another good idea is to keep a running document that records the value you provide in your role and as an employee, including specific accomplishments and even measurable ways that you have benefited the business, such as sales, team morale boosting activities and financial savings.

  1. Don’t wait for a pay review; put your hand up.

Timing your request right can make a difference to the answer you get. While the promise of a pay review during your six monthly appraisal might seem like the best opportunity, many of the women I know report that the review either doesn’t take place or its too late.

Tell your manager early about your desire to earn a pay rise and talk about what steps you can take to succeed. Another good idea is to time your meeting around when the business has reported positive financial outcomes and during budget reviews.


  1. Separate yourself from the answer.

It might be hard to get your head around, but a ‘no’ is not a reflection on you. 

There are many reasons why your manager might knock you back, and more often than not it comes down to the financial position of the business. Remember, they are in business to make money and need to take their budget into consideration prior to approving a pay increase.

If you do receive a no, dust yourself off and continue to do great work (it shows resilience) or consider other options to improve your circumstances - such as benefits besides money.


So stop waiting for recognition for your hard work, and start asking for the compensation you deserve. Remember, the pay rise I received never would have happened if I didn’t ask.


FairVine Super

FairVine Super is a super fund designed for Australian women. Currently, superannuation is not delivering results for women, who typically retire with almost half the super of men. We’re looking to level the playing field and close the gender wealth gap.

At FairVine Super, we empower women to take control of their financial present and future. We provide practical solutions. We inspire, motivate and encourage women to make changes to their financial situation.

FairVine Super listens to what women want. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch. We'd love to hear from you!

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