Advocating for Defence families

Know your worth as an employee – Part 2

In part 1 of this post we had a quick look at the overview of the different pay arrangements and considered hourly and APS pay arrangements. In part two we are going to review what is commonly known as Award or Agreement free contracts or Common law contracts.

We will also have a look at when to discuss salary.

To get an idea of what you can potentially be paid in your new location, the best resources to look for are the salary guides produced by the major recruitment firms. These are a good place to start as they give a salary range/expectation based on your location and occupation. Seek, PayScale and lassdoor are also good resources to use to try and gauge what salary you can expect in your new location given your experience and qualifications.

Figure 1: Source Hays Salary Guide 2019

It is also worth noting that the same job may pay differently in different industries; industries such as tech and mining pay more than retail or hospitality.

On most job boards the company has had to enter a salary to create the job listing even if it’s not visible on the job advert. So, they know at the beginning of the recruitment process what they are looking to pay for the role. We think it’s only fair that you know as well.

Others will suggest waiting until after the interview and you are offered the job to discuss salary. I disagree. Your time is too precious to waste interviewing for roles that don’t pay the salary you are looking for. Before arranging a time to meet for an interview, if the recruiter hasn’t asked you what salary range you are looking for, I would always ask the salary range they are offering.

Tip: When looking for part-time work, companies will still normally discuss salaries as a full time figure.

When discussing salary also make sure you are very clear about base salary excluding superannuation and any benefits, they have included in the salary to create a package value. Extras like dry cleaning and parking, along with an annual bonus are sometimes given a monetary value and included in a salary package figure if they are provided.  It’s up to you to decide if the extras are worthwhile in your situation as although they have been given a dollar value to be included in the package, it is highly unlikely the company will agree to exchange them for cash.

The exception to this is salary packaging offered by some not for profit or Public Benevolent Institutions. In essence, if you take advantage of the salary packaging on offer you can pay less tax and receive more cash in hand. Organisations who can offer these types of packages will normally be quite happy to explain them in more detail; however, it may be advisable to discuss the pros and cons with your financial advisor.    

If the figure they are offering is close to but not quite what you’re looking for there is no harm in asking if they are at all negotiable especially if the salary is near to bottom of the range your research has shown you could expect for the role.  It can also be potentially worthwhile exploring other options like working from home, compressed working week or additional paid leave if the role ticks all of your other boxes.

A little more time spent on researching and laying a good foundation for your salary expectations and determining your priorities at the being of the process can save you a lot of time during a job search and potential heartbreak when you realise your dream job just isn’t going to pay the bills.

The attributes that make us successful and resilient Defence partners are in high demand in today’s workforce; we are capable, determined, flexible and adaptable, we need to find employers that can see the value we bring to any organisation.

Check out the Defence Partner Friendly Employers that we have joined with

This list is currently being reviewed.

Good Luck!

Nejula Blake
DFA Project Officer – Employment

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice.

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