July 21, 2024

I’m going to share a real life scenario here.

So… I’m in my prime earning years and have been in my current job for 2.5 years now. It was just a few months shy of 2 years when I went on maternity leave. And for a little bit of context I work in sales – usually a mid to high paying role with commissions available to incentivise you to work harder and close more sales. 

The company I’m at has a pretty good maternity leave policy and so I was very grateful to get that. And obviously there are a tonne of  reasons to stay at a company – if you’re happy. Good culture, great people, amazing benefits and free lunch on Fridays – whatever it may be. 

Within the first year at said current job, the whole company was given quite a significant increase due to a cost of living issue and I felt like I had won the employer jackpot! I was thinking GREAT! These guys really value their employees.

The following year I worked quite hard to put forward a case for a pay rise and was given only a 1% bump. I was pretty disappointed with that outcome. Over time there were other issues that popped up but I hung in there as I was pregnant.

I’ve now come back from my maternity leave period and so recently I have been applying for multiple roles at the same level and am seeing that the base salary is more than a whopping $30K higher than what I am currently on… which tells me that I am being underpaid for my role and sector. 

It’s a difficult one. I would never be able to reason with the current business that they should give me a $30K pay jump but that is what the benefit of moving somewhere new gives you – no visibility on what you are currently on. I’ve seen this called the ‘loyalty tax’, meaning that staying in the same company impacts your pay growth in a negative way. 

Some of you might be saying – I should negotiate to stay and use a job offer as a way to get a strong counter offer? However, at this point I feel like I’m in a toxic relationship and it would be too little too late. 

And to be honest – the last thing I wanted to do after returning to work for the first time juggling my little one, home life as well as full time employment was start a brand new job. But as soon as I walked back into the role I left, I knew it was time for a change. 

So off I went and started my search. 

It’s a good exercise to do a job interview every now and then to get a sense check of what the market is paying for your role and level, not to mention to keep your interview skills sharp. 

Between roles is the best opportunity to increase your pay growth so it’s critical to not only ask for more than what you’re currently on but also to negotiate once you have an offer. Even if it’s a small amount – negotiate! You may not get another rise for a year or more and you will wish you had starter higher. Something a lot of people don’t think about is your superannuation payments made by your employer are determined by your salary, also your student loans (if you have any) so the higher you can nab at the beginning – the more money being funneled into your retirement and the faster you will pay off debt (if you have a HELP debt). 

It’s good to have a few offers on the table ideally – that way you can feel secure in pushing for more as you have other options. 

The other benefit of interviewing for several roles at the same time is it makes you sharper with each interview and stage, but it also makes you desirable if multiple parties are after your skills. 

Hopefully very soon I will have some good news to celebrate.

Stay tuned…

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