The official figures for wages growth have confirmed what everyone has been feeling lately – there is a huge divide between take home pay and the rising cost of living.

Wages grew at just 0.7 per cent over the March quarter and 2.4 per cent over the year – while inflation was twice that.

The figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics are bound to spark a furious debate in the closing stages of the federal election campaign.

Wages are expected to pick up in the first of the new financial year.  But then, so are interest rates on home loans.

In a labour short market dogged by rumours of The Great Resignation and with the unions already baying for more wage rises, here’s how to get your pay packet in order.

1. Know how much you are worth

First up, it is important to know what is the going rate for your role in the current marketplace. This will help you decide how much of a raise to ask. There are a number of salary estimators available online such as  Live Salary, PayScale and Hudson’s, so do check on what is deemed as a “good” wage in the industry.

2. Practice your pitch

Like they say, practice makes perfect. Rehearse what you are going to say to your boss so that you appear more confident and will be able to anticipate his responses and how to deal with questions.

3. Timing is everything

If your firm is over-budget, has just lost a major contract or made a few people redundant, the timing may not be right to ask for a wage rise. Delay until business has improved.

4. Make an appointment to speak to the boss

A face-to-face request is often harder to turn down than an email. Avoid Mondays when there are millions to do at the start of the week. Avoid Fridays too because the boss may have family or weekend plans in mind.

5. Present yourself well

Start by saying how much you enjoy your job, talk about how much more responsibilities and extra work you have taken on, then talk about your achievements. Focus on why you have earned and deserve a pay rise. Stick to your performance and don’t bring up any personal reasons like a rent increase for wanting a pay rise.

6. Decide what you want

Know what level of pay rise you are looking for. Tell your boss how much more money you would like in percentage terms like 10 per cent more. It is important, not to appear greedy but to remain realistic and reasonable. You can also negotiate for extra perks like a wardrobe allowance, shares in the company or extra vacation time.

7. Be prepared to hear a “no”

Don’t be discouraged if your boss says no to your request for a rise. Ask for an interim performance appraisal and review at a later date.

Many employers say that they don’t give a raise until the employee does 20 per cent more work than he did when he was initially hired.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe said that because many workers are worried about foreign workers and robots, they are less willing to make a case for higher wages. But “it would be a good thing” if workers do ask for higher salaries, he said.

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