I swear, once a week I hear someone say they’re going to pack in their current career and sell their soul for more money in a boring job.
The idea makes sense in theory, a salary increase can feel super out-of-reach in some industries. And in a survey of 1000 Aussie office workers, 43% felt that they were underpaid. But let’s take a beat before we all throw degrees, years of hard work and passions we excel at into the toilet to chase that sweet, sweet cash. It’s worth exhausting all the options in our current careers before jumping ship.
For some inspo, we polled ours’ and Money by Afterpay’s audience to snoop on how everyone else got their last pay rises.
- 32% of people were promoted
- 37% got a higher salary when they moved companies
- 17% asked for a raise
- 13% scored a new qualification
Of the people who have asked for a pay rise at work, 43% have gotten it. Without switching careers, folks said they earned extra money by decluttering and selling furniture, picking up side hustles, raising freelance rates and tutoring.
With that in mind, let’s hit up a real expert to guide us bumbling fools. Sue Ellson is an Aussie career coach and author on business who has a few hints on how to crank up that current salary.
1. Show off
Rather than just riding that smug high when something goes well at work, note those moments down.
“Keep a record of your achievements and results and make a time to share these with your manager,” says Sue.
Whether it’s great feedback, an award, or cold, hard data that proves your worth for the company, use it to your advantage when you ask for a raise.
2. Snoop around
If they’re willing to share, find out what money fellow peers are on, suss out the pay at the competition and investigate the market rate for your role.
Once you have a good idea of what you should be getting paid, Sue suggests you have a long, hard look in the mirror.
“Truly assess your level of capability and performance, and if you could do that job in a new organisation,” she says.
If you’re honestly hitting all the right notes and still under the average rate, Sue says to put in a time to share these with your manager. Or if you can make a motza at the competition, defect, my friends. Better yet, make them compete in salary for you!
3. Network away
Does networking send a shudder down your spine? Huge same. But as young professionals, we have to suck it up and make that smalltalk.
Maybe it means joining an association related to your profession or attending those industry events. But get in front of the big dogs making decisions.
Luckily for our gen who can’t speak IRL, we have digital networking. Sue says you should revamp your LinkedIn with all your experience, reconnect with people, ask and give recommendations and then engage with the content.
Once you’ve jazzed your whole professional profile up, you’ll be more likely to appear in front of hiring managers in your industry. The more offers around, and the more endorsed you are, the more likely a high one is going to exist.
Don’t you groan or roll your eyes at me. I see you. Putting in that extra work can literally pay off!
“Consider updating your skills, in your own time, and providing a report to your manager,” says Sue. “Then put forward a proposal for some additional training or professional development and discuss how you can do your job better or provide more value to your employer in the future. [Make a time in your] diary to discuss the results after you have completed it.”
As much as I wish we could all win the lottery or just get a surprise raise, sometimes increasing your salary just takes time. Try your best to manage money well in the meantime with an app like Money by Afterpay to budget, track bills and spending.
Or, maybe we’ll all just become late-in-life anaesthetists and be absolutely rolling in it? Time will tell.
Please note that this information is general in nature and shouldn’t be construed as financial advice. Money by Afterpay is a product from Afterpay Australia Pty Ltd (ABN 15 169 342 947, AFSL 527911) with accounts and debit cards issued by Westpac Banking Corporation (ABN 33 007 457 141, AFSL 233714). T&Cs apply.Image: Getty Images / [Photographer name]