Australians say they are overworked and underpaid

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  • More than a third of Australian workers feel they are underpaid, according to the 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide.
  • And one in ten say colleagues in similar roles get paid more than they do.
  • Another 10% say their pay has not increased in the last two years.

More than a third (37%) of Australian workers don’t think they are being paid a fair salary, according to the 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide.

And almost all (98%) would be willing to accept a job offer with a higher salary if they felt they were not being paid fairly.

The employment market is suffering through slow wage growth, now running at around 2% a year, with the Reserve Bank of Australia predicting wages will “increase only gradually” over time.

The latest research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half shows almost half (45%) of Australian workers say their workload and responsibilities are greater, in proportion, than their salaries.

More than a third (35%) say their salary is lower than the industry average.

Peer-envy is identified by 10% of workers who claim their colleagues who have similar roles get a better salary than they do.

Another 10% say their salary has not increased in the last two years.

“Even in a climate of slow wage growth, many employers realise that awarding a pay increase to their top performers is an efficient retention measure,” says Andrew Brushfield, Director of Robert Half Australia.

“However, salaries do not always rise. Some employers may not be in a financially viable position to increase salaries, even when they want to.”

Those who feel unwanted and underpaid will inevitably go elsewhere.

“Companies that fail to regularly review salaries risk the added burden of not just high staff turnover, but also lost revenue, decreased productivity and having to go through the hassle of hiring new employees,” says Brushfield.

“For companies not in a position or willing to increase pay packages, it’s important they adequately communicate the reasons for this to the employee at hand.

“In those situations managers need to communicate better about why employees earn what they earn and use benchmark tools such as the Salary Guide to highlight their salaries are in line with market rates.”

Managers need to identify a time frame for when salaries can be reviewed again in future and the necessary steps employees need to take to get a pay rise.

“However, in order to attract and retain the workforce of the future, companies need to diversify their remuneration offerings to focus on more than just salary, which can include tailored talent management programs and flexibility,” he says.

“This is particularly true for millennial workers, for whom the chance to work for an innovative company, professional development, and interesting and varied work are also key incentives.”

However, the survey identified IT and finance jobs as those with the best prospects for pay rises.

According to the research, the majority (97%) of Australian CIOs are planning to award an average of 21% of their IT staff with a pay rise.

The average increase is expected to be 8%, well above the national wage price growth percentage of 2%.

In the finance sector, the majority (98%) of Australian CFOs are planning to award an average of 23% of their staff with a raise this year, with the average rise expected to be 9%.

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