8 ways to improve your pay (without changing jobs!)

The cost of living is driving many people to find ways to boost their income.

It may seem like your only option is to leave your current job and find one with higher pay. But there are other options that don’t involve changing jobs.

Here are 8 ways you can put your best foot forward to get that pay increase.

1. Research the market rate

Before you head to your manager’s office or bring up the salary conversation, make sure you’ve done your research. Do you know what others are being paid to do the same role elsewhere?

Leah Lambart, Career Coach and Founder of Relaunch Me, suggests speaking to recruiters who specialise in your industry or job function.

“Recruiters are speaking to their clients and candidates every day, so they have their finger on the pulse when it comes to market worth,” she says.

Having this knowledge can keep your expectations in line with industry standards and arm you with supporting statistics.

SEEK’s Salary Guide can also help you find the average salary for different roles and compare yours.

2. Prepare a list of your achievements

It’s also helpful to create a list of your achievements to present to your manager. Consider the impact you’ve had in your team, the overall organisation and any times you’ve gone above and beyond.

Lambart explains that these achievements could include:

  • Internal processes you’ve improved to create efficiency
  • Relationships you’ve built internally and externally to help your team achieve its work goals
  • Times you’ve gone above and beyond to deliver excellent customer service to enhance your company’s reputation
  • Documents and templates you’ve created to improve efficiency
  • Programs or projects you’ve managed that have been successful outside the scope of your position description.

3. Make yourself a subject matter expert

Upskilling can be a great boost to your current role and help improve your salary outlook. Speak to your manager about how you can develop your skills or learn new ones to have a greater impact in your role and the company.

Lambart lists both formal and informal ways of upskilling:

  • Completing a formal course
  • Attending internal training
  • Job shadowing
  • Being assigned a mentor to help develop technical skills (e.g., data analysis or digital marketing skills) or people-related skills (e.g., influencing and negotiation or client service).

4. Develop your leadership skills

You don’t need to be a people manager to finetune your leadership skills. In nearly any position, there are opportunities to show your ability to mentor or lead others in your workplace.

“This could look like giving time to less experienced people in your team or broader organisation, being approachable, and offering to help others develop skills or knowledge,” Lambart says. “By taking on some leadership responsibilities, this will position you for formal leadership or management roles in the future as you will be able to provide examples of how you’ve developed more junior staff.”

5. Take initiative to suggest process or system improvements

Measurable improvements for the company can also lead to salary improvements for you. This is particularly true if you can find ways to demonstrate how you’ve helped save money or contributed to the income of the business.

This may require some out-of-the-box thinking and initiative. Examples from Lambart include:

  • improving an internal process that reduced the time taken to complete a weekly or monthly task
  • automating manual processes to save significant payroll costs for the company.

6. Build your personal brand

Lambart says it pays to work on your “personal brand”. This refers to how people in the company think of you, and if your name is seen in a positive light.

You may already have a strong relationship with your manager. Consider also building relationships with other team members and key decision makers to strengthen your personal brand.

“If this is something that you haven’t really thought about previously, focus on just building strong relationships with 1-2 key people over the next 6-12 months,” Lambart advises. “Don’t spread yourself too thin, just focus on building rapport and demonstrating your value to a few people who can recommend you for future opportunities.”

7. Make yourself indispensable

Lambart says “your manager is much more likely to recommend you for a pay rise if they can’t live without you.”

Make yourself indispensable by working to make their job easier, and by flexing the skills and knowledge that you have acquired. Look to demonstrate what you specifically bring to the role, which may be hard to find in the external job market.

8. Assess the right time and way to discuss pay with your manager

With any negotiation, timing is critical. You may have built a strong case for increasing your salary by providing a list of achievements, upskilling and demonstrating value added. But ultimately, external factors may determine whether your pay increase is possible.

“Be mindful of what is happening in your company,” Lambart says. “If your industry is in decline or the organisation is laying off staff, then unfortunately now may not be the right time.”

If you do decide the time is right, focus on the positives and not the negatives in your conversation. Lambart says, “it’s important to remember that just because your expenses have gone up, this doesn’t mean you automatically will get a pay increase. Keep any personal reasons out of the discussion as they’re not relevant.”

Instead, focus on your improved performance and the evidence behind it. By doing your research, building your skills and compiling evidence, you could be well on your way to increasing your pay – without having to go job hunting.

Read more: