Before You Negotiate A Pay Rise…

The Gender Pay Gap for Australian women is irrefutable. But what is it for individual women? How does any employee understand what they should be paid? In truth, most people don’t know how to evaluate their worth objectively, which leaves them to negotiate (or not) based on what they feel they are worth.

The Gender Pay Gap is currently 18.8% in Australia. The implications are as complex as the contributing factors. One of those implications is that as women, when we don’t know our market value we can assume that we’re being underpaid. Sure it’s statistically possible: but without credible evidence it becomes very personal. You risk feeling undervalued and disengaged and your employer risks feeling bullied.

‘One confronting challenge in determining your salary is that it’s more about what the job is worth than it is about what you’re worth.’


Well if money is very important to you, you should target industries and roles that pay handsomely. If you’re moving from financial services to aged care for instance, you should expect a dip in pay.


This one is the most obvious. You could speak with a niche recruiter. Be sure it’s someone who knows their market well, rather than a ‘flick and stick’ transient recruiter who covers all roles and all industries. An experienced niche recruiter will be able to share insight into the salary range you can expect for your job type. This is generally going to be industry specific and affected by location.

The implied advice here is to nurture your relationships with good recruiters!

Recognise that there should be a win-win: you may need them to recruit for you or find your next role and they can provide you with excellent market intelligence.


If you don’t know the credible recruiters in your market, find them. It’s an investment. Like a shortcut? Consult the Hays Salary Survey. The beauty of this annual document is that it’s divided by industry, by level of role and by location.

You’re not looking for an absolute dollar figure here, you’re looking for a salary range. If you’re being paid above the range, consider whether your job title could do with adjustment.

Some time on Google will fairly quickly uncover job descriptions for any role. Feed this information back into your salary enquiries.


Recruiters can help with this too, but you’ll need to be able to articulate what you do for them to translate that to a market value.

Recognise the difference between responsibilities and achievements. Achievements are generally things that you did that sit above and beyond the normal expectations of your role. Perhaps you’re responsible for executing a certain task but you additionally created processes that wiped 3 days per month from that task. You can calculate the dollar value of your initiative there.

Or perhaps you overachieved your KPIs by 15% … quantify it. Quantifying your achievements is the factor that helps to determine whether you are an average performer or above average. If you can demonstrate that your performance adds value above organisational expectations, then you’re in a good position to convince that your skills sit at the top end of the market’s salary range.

Performance appraisals have a good deal of benefit for you, right? For many they’re the only time (outside of job transition) that they reflect on what they’re achieved. It’s an excellent opportunity to take stock of what you’ve achieved and to make it known.


Are there lots of you or are your skills in high demand?

If a couple of major competitors have recently moved operations off-shore leaving dozens of highly active job seekers with your skills, you’ll have to work harder to prove you deserve a pay rise.

If the four closest competitors are actively making you job offers on a weekly basis because there are so few people with your skills: clearly you’re in a good position to negotiate.


Not all highly competent people are recognised as highly competent. Not all highly regarded employees are competent!

For sustained credibility across roles, it’s essential that you have the magical mix of competence and the ability to be heard. It’s the 2-part success formula of Executive Presence.

Executive Presence

Be really good at your job and gather evidence as you go. Gather skills along the way in communication, confidence and people management that you can apply to peers, influencers and leaders within the business. ‘Managing Up’ is as critical as managing your team.

These are all skills that are essential for effective leadership: the sooner in your career you can get them working for you, the greater your career trajectory will be.


I’ve heard a LOT of employees say that they’re underpaid, that they do more hours than is reasonable and deserve to be rewarded for it. Long hours is a generally a separate issue to your salary. Let’s assume here that the long hours are not related to poor productivity or a lack of training in particular skills.

If your hours are long and that doesn’t suit you, you should negotiate workload or delegation options.

“I can see how XXX is an important priority. Let me walk you through the other responsibilities I’m carrying right now and you can tell me which is less important. Alternatively, if they’re equally important we can discuss resourcing.”

Alternatively, decide that you’re prepared to do it for a defined period of time. Be vocal and get agreement on that definition.

Perhaps you’re seeking a pay rise as a reward for a hard slog on a particular project. Remember that your salary will reflect what your job is worth, so if you’re taking on a project that is going to demand a higher level of responsibility and extra hours for a period of time, you should negotiate upfront. Agree to KPIs and expectations and get written agreement on the reward for effort and/or outcomes.


We’ve talked about how to find the data, but how do you clear the emotion from what can feel like a very personal conversation? The most reliable solution is to go outside yourself: speak with a mentor or coach. Being prepared with data is incredibly helpful.

Be clear about your expectations and don’t bring personal circumstances into the conversation. This is not the time to mention the favoured holiday destination or kid’s school fees!

“The industry norm for this role is between C and G. I’m being paid D, which is at the bottom end of that range, however my performance reviews, KPIs and customer reviews confirm that my performance is much closer to the top end of that range. I would like you to review my salary.

What information can I provide you to make that easier? What timeframe should I expect for your decision?”


  1. Take stock. Many people don’t reflect on their achievements until they need to change jobs and are subject to situational insecurity.
  2. Know what your skills are worth in the market.
  3. Know how critical your role is to the organisation.
  4. Get your timing right (don’t approach a negotiation the day before a major product launch or catastrophe when all eyes are focused elsewhere)
  5. Be objective. There should be no “I feel I deserve…” involved.
  6. Be confident. Our earlier blog with tips from The Confidence Coach Lisa Phillips can be helpful
  7. Be good at what you do! And be able to talk about it. Nobody will be as aware of your capabilities as you are- they have their eyes on their own stuff.
  8. No business will pay you more than they have to. You’re an employee not a charity recipient. If you want to be paid more money, you need to be able to justify it.


Particularly for women when gender pay inequity is so prevalent in the media, it can be a quick assumption that our individual circumstances warrant a better deal.

I would encourage you to NOT assume. Instead, be empowered to uncover the facts for your circumstances. Gather your evidence and find a mentor or coach who will give you an objective ear, not just agree with you!

If it turns out you are being paid less than the market for your level of skill in the role you’re doing, be smart about putting your case forward. Be prepared and be confident.

Know how important it is it you. Be prepared for a ‘No’: there may be other circumstances going on that you’re not aware of. If your negotiation is met with a no, what’s your Plan B?

Having an alternative will be empowering and will help remove some of the emotion from your negotiations.

Cath Nolan, CEO and Founder of Gender Gap Gone, is an Executive Coach and Key Note Speaker with background in organisational and individual development. With a team of associates Cath launched Gender Gap Gone, enabling organisations to ensure that their diversity goals are translated to a lived reality for all employees and that more women enter and rise through the Leadership Pipeline. With a business model designed to fit around competing priorities, Gender Gap Gone helps more women into the roles of their choosing. Subscribe for  the latest free resources and upcoming Programs, or follow us on Twitter Instagram or Facebook and be inspired to keep your career on your work-day radar.

Why Successful Leaders Are Raising Their Digital Profiles And How You Can Too

I’ve met far more executives whose digital profiles lacked oomph than aspiring leaders with the same problem. Why is that? Executives tell me they don’t have time and frankly are often thoroughly disinterested. They’re busy getting the job done, without much thought to the next role in their career. Additionally though, it’s likely been a while since they had to be proactive in career search and many still attribute a digital profile with finding a new job.


In short, it’s what you see in a Google search of your name. For many your digital presence is your online résumé and social media pages. But it’s more than that too. For most professionals it’s a LinkedIn Profile, along with evidence of publications, articles and speaking engagements.

Sure, there’s a good deal of rhetoric for millenials with tips for avoiding negative content on facebook or instagram, but that’s less a challenge for Leaders who don’t tend to have as much time for the more social aspect of social media anyway.


A strong digital profile is not just for extraverts. Neither is it the exclusive domain of those in the market for their next job move.

“I have a LinkedIn profile, although it’s little more than my name and a couple of past job titles… I’m not even sure this job is on there actually” – so then you really don’t have a profile at all.

“I’m not in the market for a new job, I really don’t need to be visible online.” Job offers are always great for your confidence, even if you’re not looking to make a move. Aside from job offers, there are many opportunities that you can take advantage of today- well ahead of career moves, to put you in a far stronger position when it is time to take that next step.

1. Opportunity is knocking. Of course you’ll receive an electronic shoulder-tap from time to time for a great new job. But even while staying put you might be interested in exploring board involvement, participation in industry forums, associations or projects, contribution to articles and speaking opportunities. With a strong online presence, those looking for people with your expertise can find you.

Rich Evans of The Village Voice describes social media as our inevitable, primal return to community. Once we lived in tribes then villages, with our support community close by. Everyone knew your business. Over the last few decades our families are far more geographically spread, our social lives consumed by busy-ness to the point of disconnection. Rich says social media feeds an intrinsic need to connect, as well as serves to help us get things done. If you’re in a pickle, it’s better to get someone through word of mouth, right?

Social media helps you build that bridge. You just need to choose the forms that are right for your purposes.

2. Hire stronger performers. Quality employees have initiative and curiosity, whatever the role they’re applying for. Anyone with those qualities is going to check you out, along with your business, before deciding to commit to a career under your tutelage. Quality employees are often spoilt for choice. If your online presence is impressive, your next high performer will perceive that they can learn a good deal from you. It’s a case of your personal brand working in tandem with your business’ employment brand, in winning the war for talent. When you have the strongest team you get the strongest results, right?


3. Bargaining Power. Opportunity begets opportunity.

So let’s fast-forward 6 months. Your profile brands you as a leader in your knowledge area and you’ve published a blog or two on your own LinkedIn profile. You’ve been carving out 15 minutes each Friday to extend your network, read a couple of articles and join the conversation among your extended network. Opportunities start to come your way. Your team is becoming stronger with the overall rise in calibre of new hires. Your internal reputation and your external profile are on the increase. Surely that’s a position of power for your next salary negotiation?

How often have you heard “Look at my résumé now: even I think I’m perfect for the job!” I’ve heard it lots. With a great profile, whether it’s a Word doc résumé or on online, you feel more confident, walk taller. Like killer heels without the killer back-pain.

A great profile makes you walk a little taller. Like killer heels without the killer back pain.


What you’re great at and what you stand for are clear.

All leaders need to have some operational, some strategic, some financial, some functional and a lot of people capabilities. But if that combined mix is all you’re selling, it sounds like a pretty boring product that’s quite common among senior managers. These two questions might be useful:

“What are you known for?”

“What do you want to be known for?”

BREVITY – Remember that people will read less online than they will in print. In theory your LinkedIn profile could just be a copy & paste of your résumé. In reality you could start there, then edit it back by half. It should be gripping, bite-sized. Talk highlights. Long wordy paragraphs don’t work online. If this is a challenge for you, get onto Twitter quickly: the ‘140 characters or less’ parameter provides excellent training!

SUMMARY – Most people leave this blank. It’s what makes you 3 dimensional. It’s where you get to talk to your passions. If you’re clear with the world about what you want to be doing, that’s what they’ll call you for.

I understand there’s a risk in expressing too narrow a focus. Unless you’re a narrow-field specialist, you might be concerned about pigeonholing. Like the person who takes a golf lesson and suddenly every gift forever more is tees, balls and collared t.shirts.

But by not standing for something in particular, you’re forgettable. Your summary is typically a few very short paragraphs. A short story that expresses either your journey or your strengths. Some choose to incorporate a little of the personal here and many don’t. It’s up to you, but just be sure it’s relevant. Once it’s written, sit back and ask: does it show what I’m known for?

Kathleen Elkins recently wrote of a significantly impactful résumé addition. Jeff Scardino, a senior creative at Ogilvy & Mather, set two profiles to work. One he called his ‘relevant résumé’ and included “failures, bad references and non-skills”, while the other was a standard same-as-everyone-else résumé format. What a great attention-grabber! Kathleen says “The results were surprisingly lopsided. The regular résumé received one response and zero meeting requests, while the relevant résumé received eight responses and five meeting requests.”

Be known for something. Don’t be bland or you’ll be overlooked.

BRAND – you can change your tag line & you should. It’s rare to find 2 comparable senior roles with the same job title. If your actual job title (the auto-generated one) appears below your name, how will they find you? They’re unlikely to look for you by name, or by a convoluted or obscure title. Use an industry-recognised term for the work that you do and the level at which you operate.

URL – when you set up a Linkedin profile you’ll be assigned a number. You can change it though. I’m surprised at how often peoples names are still available. Not everyone knows about this little feature! If your name isn’t available, try a variation (surname first, include your middle name etc).

Of course there are many resources available for helping you to get your digital presence up to speed. Indeed, our some of Gender Gap Gone Career Coaches can help you with it. But you’re looking to do it yourself, in my opinion the very best resource is by Louise Fletcher of Blue Sky Résumés in New York. Louise has written The Blue Sky Guide To LinkedIn and you can purchase and download very quickly. Please note I have no affiliation with Louise but have certainly seen MANY people benefit from this resource. If you’re looking for a comprehensive step by step how-to, with lots of examples, this is it.

TWITTER – what is it that you want to be known for? You’re a dynamite kisser? You run a half marathon every 3 months? You’re exceptional at getting to the crux of business process issues and coming up with high ROI, low impact recommendations for improvement? Whatever it is you want to hang your hat on, search the topic in the online media. Find the conversation and follow it. (Of course, you know I’m joking about the kissing, right? I can’t think what kind of path you might be on if that’s a career advantage!)

Still not sure who to follow? Start with some news sites that interest you or some public figures you’ve heard speak in your interest area. Interested in leadership and women on the rise? Follow us! @GGapGone You’ll soon see a bevy of smart ideas coming from across the globe.


  • Add your Linkedin URL to your résumé.
  • Connect with people. But be selective. Your connections should be people you know or have worked with.
  • Be active. If you see an article while reading the AFRonline, post it to LinkedIn. A colleague has written a post? If you believe the content has merit, share it. Share it on LI, share it on Twitter.
  • Get published. Writing a post on Linkedin is the simplest thing in the world.

Once you’ve got LinkedIn working for you, your presence elsewhere will start to grow. Business journalists want sources, conference organisers want speakers, others in your industry want to connect.

Be brave. Make time for it and let it work for you.


Cath Nolan is the Founder and Director at Gender Gap Gone ( as well as Director of CN Consulting, est. 2007.  An Executive Coach with a strong background in all areas of individual and organisational development, Catherine is passionate about the impact of individual empowerment in seeing the Gender Gap Gone.

Do You Find It Difficult To Be Confident? With Lisa Phillips, The Confidence Coach

From Lisa Phillips, THE Confidence Coach

Do you suffer from a lack of confidence or self-esteem? If so, you are not alone! As a coach with over 15 years’ experience, this is one of the main issues that I help people overcome during my workshops and coaching sessions.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Company Director or stay at home mum; a lack of confidence can rear its ugly head in any area of your life and can really restrict you from moving forward, following your passions and doing what you really would love to do.

Take a few minutes now to think about your own life, is there a particular area where you lack confidence or self-esteem? Now consider how this may have held you back over the years. Has it stopped you asking for that pay rise, putting yourself forward for that great job, or has it resulted in someone taking advantage of you or walking all over your kind nature?

Thankfully (with a bit of focus, willingness and a sense of humour!) low confidence is something that can be easily resolved. Confidence is really just like a muscle, you just need to do some work on it daily to build it up! Interestingly, one of key obstacles people encounter when practising to be more confident is that they realise they really have a bigger fear that is holding them back – the fear of what could happen if they do start to change.

It sounds a little crazy but more than often it is the fear of what ‘may happen’ that can actually stop us taking action and moving into confidence. Unfortunately, these fears keep us small and comfortable. More often than not, they actually relate more to how other people will react towards us if we do begin to become a more confident and assertive person.

Some common fears which prevent moving into confidence include:

  • Worrying what people will think if you do speak up for yourself or start behaving in a more confident way.
  • Concern that you will end up upsetting someone else or letting them down
  • Thoughts about other people not liking you any more
  • Strong beliefs about always needing to be seen as a nice person!
  • The fear that we are being ‘ selfish’ in some way

Although staying small may feel more comfortable or the easy option, over time, it often ends up in resentment, frustration and blaming other people for situations we find ourselves in.staying small

Do you end up saying yes to attend functions even though you don’t really want to? Do you feel obliged to do things because you want to be seen as a nice girl or you don’t want to let anyone else down? Do you end up saying Yes when you really mean No?   Ok, it may seem the easier option but at what cost to yourself?   The chances are you will end up feeling resentful or blame other people (and yourself!) for asking you in the first place!

In my blog today, I am going to start with sharing some of my top tips for increasing your confidence and also changing the habit of being a people pleaser. If you think you haven’t got the time or maybe you believe you are too busy, then please think again! Many of these will only take a few minutes of your time or can be done when you are in the shower or perhaps brushing your teeth each morning.

Remember, every little step you take will build up that confidence muscle.

TOP TEN For Increasing Confidence (& Leaving The People Pleaser Behind)

1) Write a list of things that you like about yourself and your positive qualities. These could be the fact you are helpful, creative, traits or the fact that you get things done on time. Make sure you write down at least twenty!

2) Each day affirm to yourself (at least ten times if you can!) ‘ I am really looking forward to feeling more confident’ and I am starting to believe that I am a valuable, loveable person and I deserve the very best’

3) Quit comparing yourself to others. Remind yourself that there will always be some people who have more than you, and some people who have less. Comparing yourself to others will NOT make you feel good about yourself.

4) The next time you feel yourself saying Yes, when you really want to say No – ask yourself who you are trying to please? Then, decide to please yourself instead. If you find it difficult to say No – stand in front of the mirror a few times and practice saying it until it feels comfortable.

5) Try not to worry what people will think if you do say No or act assertive around them. The right people will respect you and your boundaries.   Don’t get into the habit of justifying your decision to them.

6) Remind yourself that you are HUMAN. Release the need to beat yourself up for not being perfect. Vow each day to praise yourself, not criticize yourself. This takes practise but even if you stop yourself from criticising yourself just once then you are making great progress. Why not get into the habit of finding one thing to praise yourself for every time you look in the mirror?

7) If you are surrounded by negative people or energy vampires, this will make you feel bad about yourself and will lower your self-esteem. Re- think the people you hand out with. Are they adding to your energy or draining it? Try to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. This will help you feel better about yourself and this will raise your self-esteem.

8) Each night before you go to bed, think about (or write down if you wish) five successful things you have done that day. This could be as simple as getting to work on time, helping a friend or cooking a healthy dinner.


9) Set yourself a target of saying No at least twice a week. It will be scary at first but after a few times, you will feel empowered and fabulous. Recognise that you may feel uncomfortable after saying No.   Don’t let this feeling trick you into feeling guilty.

10) Make sure you are living your own life and not the life someone else wishes you live. If you feel nervous about standing up for yourself etc, make this one of your mini goals. You won’t develop self-esteem if you sit on the sidelines and don’t push yourself to take risks and new challenges.

Remember, we are all capable of having a strong confidence muscle. In doing the steps above, you will also start to take more risks and be less concerned with making a fool of yourself or failing.

One of the additional benefits is also being less concerned about what others think of you or seeking approval from others. Most importantly is the fact that you will be far more comfortable in your own skin and feel at peace with the wonderful person you really are.


Benefits of Confidence

Lisa Phillips is a Life and Confidence Coach based in Sydney, Australia.   Lisa features regularly in the media and has her own life coaching radio show.   She is also the author of The Confidence Coach book ( Exisle Publishing) .  Lisa also runs workshops at GGG which can be found here

To find out more, please see /