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Kelly knew her colleagues were getting paid more and confronted her boss. Here's how she got a pay rise

Brisbane woman Kelly Davis used proven negotiating skills to secure a $10,000 pay increase and a car allowance.

Full-time working Aussies are taking home bigger salaries in 2024, new statistics show but, according to product manager Kelly Davis, negotiating a pay rise is not as easy as simply asking for one.

The Brisbane woman, national portable product manager at generator manufacturing firm Genelite, used a series of negotiating skills to successfully secure a $10,000 pay increase, taking her base salary to $75,000 – with monthly commission on top – and a car allowance.

So, how did she do it? Davis revealed her tips to Yahoo Finance.

Closeup of men shaking hands with an inset of a smiling woman after securing a pay rise.
Product manager Kelly Davis successfully negotiated a $10k pay rise on her base salary plus a car allowance. (Source: Getty/Supplied)

Do you have a story to tell? Contact yahoo.finance.au@yahooinc.com

Davis started at the firm four years ago as a business development manager on a base rate of $60,000, but she said she struggled seeing her male colleagues earning larger wages than her initial starting salary, while working in smaller roles.

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“I wrote an email to my managing director who I report to,” she told Yahoo Finance. “I described all the big accounts I brought on board and larger clients, how I increased the company’s client base and grew the company’s budget.

“I explained to them what I can do moving into the future – increasing the client base while maintaining existing clients.”

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released this week, women in full-time work were, on average, paid 12 per cent less than men. While this figure may frustrate the female population, the data showed this was the “lowest” gender pay gap on record and down from 13 per cent in May 2023.

The data also showed the average wage for adult full-time workers, not including overtime, had increased by $81 a week – or 4.2 per cent – in the 12 months to December 2023, meaning wages now stand at an almost 15-year high.

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The biggest earners are in the male-dominated mining sector, where full-time workers earn, on average, $2,952 per week. Employees in the information media and telecommunications industry came in second at $2,406 a week.

Proving she's a hard worker and strong negotiator, Davis said she was progressing up the corporate ladder and intended to, some day, lead a team of sales representatives.

Composite of Kelly Davis and Australian $100 notes scattered
Davis said to go into wage negotiations with confidence and know your worth. (Source: Getty)

“I initially started on $60,000 and ended up with a $75,000 base, commission on a monthly basis, and a car allowance," she told Yahoo Finance. "I had asked for a company car but negotiated it to a car allowance and pay increase.

“It’s nice to feel valued. It’s more about struggling with the pay gap. You see men in smaller roles getting paid a lot more than I was initially. That’s what motivated me – it’s showing initiative as well.”

Show your value, goals and ambition

Her advice to others was to “believe in yourself and go in with confidence”.

“I went into it with the view, ‘What’s the worst that can happen? All they can do is say no’,” Davis said. “It was about showing my value, acknowledging my future goals and aspirations and to say, 'I’m here for the long term and I have ambition around that'."

According to life coach Jacob Galea, you need to have a plan before asking for a pay rise.

“Asking for a pay rise requires thought, strategy, and negotiation,” he said. “It's not enough to simply request an increase. You must be prepared to articulate your value to the organisation and justify your salary expectations.”

Galea advised professionals to assess their worth, research market rates, and carefully choose the timing of their requests, while keeping an open mind during negotiations.

“Be open to alternative solutions and willing to collaborate with your employer to find a mutually beneficial arrangement," he said. “Approaching the discussion with a positive attitude and a willingness to explore options can lead to a successful outcome.”

How can I get a pay rise?

  • Be more valuable: Consistently deliver high-quality work, exceed expectations and take on extra responsibilities. Look for ways to improve processes, solve problems, contribute to the organisation’s overall success and keep track of your accomplishments.

  • Learn more about your role: Expand your skills and knowledge in your current role with extra training. Attend workshops or seminars, or obtain certifications relevant to your field. This way you'll become an indispensable asset, increasing your chances of a higher salary.

  • Get a mentor: Consider seeking guidance from an executive coach or mentor who can help you advance your career and achieve your goals by identifying areas of improvement, while setting realistic goals and strategies for success.

  • Go above and beyond: Take on extra projects outside of your job description, volunteer for challenging assignments and exceed expectations.

  • Get community-focused: Engage in community initiatives and volunteer work that align with your company's values and objectives, such as charity events, organising community-service projects, or representing your company at industry conferences and events.