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.

What’s Missing From Your Leadership ToolKit?

From our MD, Cath Nolan

Despite the individuality of the path to leadership, there is undeniably a central set of skills that need to be acquired if you want to be considered for The Big Chair. At Gender Gap Gone our conversations with aspiring leaders place a great deal of emphasis on Executive Presence. It incorporates credibility and being heard. Success is impossible without both.


Today I want to talk with you about the capabilities required for credibility. What are the must-have skills for a leadership toolkit? Not all who are great at their job will be selected for promotion. Credibility speaks not only to your area of specialisation, but also to a small number of skills that are big on importance for leadership. Here are the essentials.


People Management – Not all of your roles need to at the helm of large teams. Two things are important here. If you’re a large-complex-organisation type of person, then you’ll need to quickly work toward leading large teams if you’re headed for the top. Otherwise the size of team isn’t necessarily the biggest issue. The best people management ability is created in difficult circumstances. Having tough performance conversations with people and equally identifying future starts and helping them rise. Those who master these two people management skills will far outperform the people manager who has always had “lovely teams” with never a conflict to speak of.

Next time you’re dealing with a tricky people management issue, count your lucky stars: you’re having a great, skill-building career day. You don’t lead any people who stretch you? Find a few! Mentoring an employee elsewhere in the organisation is a low-risk, high potential reward scenario if you’re at a loss.

Next time you’re dealing with a tricky people management issue, count your lucky stars: you’re having a great, skill-building career day.

Communication – So you can string a sentence together? You haven’t earned a tick in this box yet. Do you actively communicate with your team? And the one-below team? What about the one-up leaders? Your internal network?

Poor communication is frequently highlighted in exit surveys. Either because the leader (immediate or senior team) hasn’t communicated direction, or because they’re seen as disconnected from the worker bees, or because the workers don’t believe that the organisation can offer them the opportunities that frequently do exist, if only managers were actively engaged in unafraid, two-way conversation with their employees.

You may feel the need to speak more or even to speak less with your team members. I’d like to challenge you to narrow your focus. Improve the quality of questions you ask. Great questions lead to great insight. Without it any talking you do may be missing the mark entirely.

better questions

What can you do, right now, to improve the quality of your questions?

Influence – The ability to influence will help get you into a role and render you far more effective once you’re there. How influential are you? Let’s break it down. Here are three components you can work on.

Preparedness | Communication | Confidence

How do you measure on these? What can you do to stretch yourself on these?

You’re already strong here? Who can you bring along with you?

Strategic Orientation – This one requires an excellent read on your environment. For some it means you’re able to think big and come up with a long-term, broad-based plan. In many organisations though, it means you’re able to follow the boss’ lead and translate a corporate policy into specific, actionable plans. Sometimes a rapidly changing corporate policy!

Here’s a story I’ve been close to on many occasions. An impressive, capable individual takes a “strategic leadership” role within a business claiming to want a new direction, a fresh perspective to reach uncharted heights. The brief is to challenge the status quo. The enthusiastic new leader takes stock, completes some analysis on the organisation, the market, the global trends. Then they deliver their recommendations. The board curls up their collective toes: “We’re not ready for THAT!”

Read your environment. Understand when to introduce innovation in strategy direction and when your input should be confined to (perhaps innovative) approaches to delivering on pre-set strategic plans.

Knowing the difference and investing accordingly will bring a great deal more success and job satisfaction for you.

Financial Acumen – I’ve written about this one before. If you’re heading for a senior role, there is no avoiding the need for sound understanding of the financials. 

You don’t have it? Who can explain it to you? What course can you sign up to?

How will you present it to your boss, so it’s paid for?

You do have it? Who do you know that’s in need of some basic skills in this area and how can you help while limiting your time commitment?

Cross – Functional Awareness – The age of the CEO who started as the accountant and progressed through narrow, financial channels is for the most part very long gone. Many organisations struggle with overly siloed cultures, where divisional leaders have competing KPI’s, competing priorities. Being able to demonstrate partnerships beyond your specialisation is essential for those pursuing leadership progression.

Client Experience – A service orientation is highly favourable at junior levels. At senior levels, it’s important to be able to demonstrate that you’re able to achieve win-win outcomes. That is, you can balance the organisation’s needs with keeping your internal / external client base in a state of advocacy. The more senior the role, the less hands-on your experience will be. Rather, you’ll need to have experience engendering a culture of service, cross-functional interaction, open communication and so on.


If you’re a high-achiever you’ll probably be all over this list of potential developmental gaps you can close.

Take a moment to reflect on your strengths. What do you want to be known for? What are you passionate about? What do you want to make a difference in? How can you have an impact on your team /workplace / industry?

Then what experiences might help you get there? Greater exposure? Training to formalise what you naturally do well? Coaching others to also be strong in your areas of expertise or passion, perhaps?


Each industry has it’s own unique hurdles: the qualifications or capabilities that are valued highly. If you’re not sure what they are in your space, find a mentor or three, do some research and work it out. The fundamental mistake that many aspiring leaders make at this point is to assume they know. Years in the space can cloud your judgement about what’s around the corner. Emergent businesses are impacting whole industries by doing things differently. Look at Uber and AirBNB. What emerging technologies or emerging business trends globally could be impacting the way your industry operates?

How will you do a check on the market trends affecting your industry?

How can you be prepared for those trends?


An MBA may be essential in your market. Or it might not be. If an MBA supports your experience, it’s a big positive. On it’s own it’s not worth much. When undertaking post-graduate studies, be sure that you’re interested in the content and not purely the piece of paper. The paper itself is not a guarantee of success, but if you choose wisely the learning may well be.

Not everyone has the time or resources to allocate to significant leadership programs though.

What alternatives can you consider? Are there leadership programs that interest you, or conferences that broaden your network and introduce you to new concepts?

Yet make no mistake: some paths demand a certain qualification. If that’s you, make it a priority and get it behind you.


We might politely talk about ways to get around the business structures that hinder promotion opportunities. In reality there are women who have navigated that path before you. Others are doing it right now. The female executives I’ve met have these above skills in spades. They are highly respected, highly effective and apparently effortlessly successful.

Understand that you have the power to make it too. Tap into mentors or even resources to help you navigate internal barriers.

eBook image with FREE DOWNLOAD 250x400

Download the eBook here.

If the skills you have are not recognised by your organisation, find a way to be heard. If they simply don’t value the same behaviours that you do, find a new direction. But perhaps get a second opinion on them first.

If it can be avoided you don’t want to throw away time invested and a brilliant opportunity if it really just comes down to one dodgy boss.



Cath Nolan is the MD & Founder at Gender Gap Gone  as well as Director of CN Consulting. 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. Subscribe to hear the latest free resources and upcoming programs, or follow us on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook for resources and inspiration.

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 /