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Sneaky way employers are shortchanging staff

Many Aussie workers are taking on more tasks for the same pay.

People walking on the street in Melbourne and Australian money notes. Walking to work concept.
Aussie employers are heaping extra responsibilities on their existing workers. (Source: Getty)

Aussie workers are getting slugged with extra responsibilities, but many aren’t getting compensated for it.

New research from Robert Half revealed 79 per cent of employers had given their existing staff extra responsibilities to keep their business running effectively.

Despite this, just 45 per cent have given staff a financial incentive, such as a pay rise or bonus, for the extra work they are doing.

When asked why they weren’t compensating staff, about 40 per cent said they were trialling their employees in the new role or assessing their performance first.

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Other reasons included the increased responsibilities only being temporary (44 per cent), a lack of budget (34 per cent), and the extra work not being an official promotion (31 per cent).

Robert Half director Nicole Gorton said it was common for extra responsibilities to go “hand in hand” with extra pay or benefits, but it was also not unheard of for employers to instate probationary periods.

Gorton said extra duties could allow staff to gain more experience and increase their skills. It could also be a sign their employer recognised the value the employee brought to the organisation.

“In saying this, if employers are not in a position to increase compensation for staff who take on extra responsibilities, they need to be transparent as to why a pay rise isn't on the table and when pay will be reviewed,” she said.

If employees resigned because they felt like they weren’t being sufficiently compensated, Gorton said this could cost more to the business long-term.

5 tips for employees

Robert Half gave some advice for employees in this situation:

  1. Find out why. Understanding why your employer isn’t offering you a pay increase can help you formulate an action plan. Make sure any plan is agreed to in writing.

  2. Consider the bigger picture. Think about how this could help your career progression and skills development. Are you learning new and transferable skills? Or leadership skills?

  3. Get a timeline and goals. Talk to your manager about a pay review and have an agreed timeline. At the same time, identify what goals and KPIs will increase your chances of securing a pay rise.

  4. Negotiate other benefits. If a pay increase is off the table right now, asking for extra leave, flexible hours or work from home can be a way to get compensation.

  5. Know your worth. Make sure you are informed, and look at salary guides to understand the compensation for your current role.

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