You have been offered a new job, or are approaching a performance review.

It is important to know your own value; to be clear about your strengths and what you need to say to get the best package of pay and conditions. This checklist can prepare you for employment negotiations.

The research shows there can be considerable differences between the employment negotiations of women and men. Indeed, women have tended to have less successful outcomes than men. Being prepared for employment negotiations helps overcome this disadvantage.

You are the best person for the job, so start with what you can do …

1. More about negotiating

  • You will get your best results from employment negotiations if you are informed and confident
  • You will have a better chance of getting pay and conditions that are equal to your male co-workers
  • You will be more likely to stay with a business that you feel is paying you fairly for your work
  • You will be more likely to stay in a job where you can negotiate changed conditions if and when your life circumstances change.

Research shows there is considerable difference between women and men when it comes to the approach taken during negotiations and their results. Up till now, women have tended to have less successful outcomes than men.

Less successful negotiation outcomes for women contribute to the current inequality between women and men evidenced by the lack of women in senior workplace roles, the persistent pay gap between women and men and sadly contributes to the higher numbers of women living in poverty in their old age.

First, you will need to:

  • Be clear about your strengths: assume you are the best person for the job
  • Find out what is – and is not – negotiable for this job.
    • Don’t assume there is no room for negotiation and pass up the opportunity to claim the full value of your work.
    • But in some jobs, there is little or no room to negotiate and making demands may penalise you, or even jeopardise your job offer, however unfair that may be.
  • Find out how negotiations will be conducted.
    • That varies greatly across occupations and industries, and with organisation size and location.
    • Some employers negotiate by email, others by phone or face to face.
    • Negotiations may be with recruiters, HR staff, hiring managers or others.
  • Work out which Checklist items are relevant to the job you are considering.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to find the information you want. Try the telephone and online enquiry services of organisations linked to this Checklist.

By using this checklist you can:

  • understand how just being a women can affect negotiations
  • negotiate more often, more assertively, and more effectively
    prepare and participate more effectively, by investigating the organisation’s remuneration (pay and reward) policies, knowing what constitutes a favourable pay and employment condition, developing positive remuneration proposals, and practising negotiations

This checklist will help you do all of this.

Negotiating the best result is good for you and good for business. Did you know that some organisations:

  • make it easier for women to engage fully in negotiations, and actively support fairer outcomes
  • build common ground between employees and employers on the bases of negotiations, and how they are conducted
  • ensure they have clear, transparent and gender equitable policies about remuneration and conditions, based on reviewing their current gender equity in remuneration
  • ensure applicants are informed about the policies and processes for negotiating
  • ensure negotiators (managers, supervisors, employment agencies, recruiters) are educated about how gender bias (including unconscious bias) can affect employment recruitment and negotiations
  • provide information and training for existing and prospective employees and negotiators on negotiating fairly within the organisation’s policies and processes.

Don’t you want to work for them!

Read more

Negotiation: how it works (or doesn’t work) for women and why it matters

Are women reluctant to negotiate, and if so, why?

Women’s agenda: articles on salary negotiation

Negotiating salary for a new job

How to negotiate a higher starting salary

Ten tips to negotiate a pay rise

How to negotiate a salary for your new job

What Women Often Get Wrong In Salary Negotiations

Salary negotiation tips for female graduates

Get practical advice on how to have difficult conversations in the workplace by completing the Fair Work Ombudsman’s online learning modules for employees and employers at

2. Understand the job you are applying for

Leaping woman

  • Get a job description covering:
    • the required skills;
    • responsibilities; and
    • demands of the job, including work arrangements
  • Ask the employer some questions if the job description you get is incomplete.

Read more

What a good job description can include and what employers might be looking for

Find out the right questions to ask to find out about your rights, entitlements and obligations and get the best possible start in your new job by completing the Fair Work Ombudsman’s starting a new job online module at

3. Non-negotiable legal rights

Check the National Employment Standards under the Fair Work Act, which cover working time and arrangements, leave, and termination and redundancy requirements for all jobs.

Also check the modern award for the job (Most employees are covered by an award or registered agreement, but a few jobs and industries are not. Check which award or registered agreement covers your employment at, and any applicable collective agreements.

Read more

Employment contracts

The Fair Work Commission has pay and conditions tools and calculators and links to minimum pay and conditions guides for 14 industries

Websites that provide the opportunity to ask about pay

Websites that list unions from which women can seek salary information

4. Check the market

  • Find out what you can about the organisation’s own remuneration levels for comparable jobs now, and in the recent past, including remuneration of the previous employee in this job, and how this job is paid relative to other jobs in the organisation.
  • Find out about the organisation’s remuneration settings including profitability, and business strategies
    Check pay and conditions in other comparable organisations in the industry, and in the area, using job ads, phone calls, networks.
  • Review surveys of remuneration for the job – take account of location, and organisation size. Consider how up to date the information in the survey is and how closely this job matches the jobs in the survey(s), and whether rates have changed much since the survey(s).
  • Professional, trade or industry associations or unions may also be able to provide information.

Read more

SEEK has compiled these charts to give you an idea of the salary range in the particular industry you are searching in

Career One has salary research, including the Australian Salary Surveys 2012

The annual Hays Salary Guide gives a snapshot of over 1000 salaries across Australia and New Zealand

Graduate Careers Australia’s (GCA) annual Australian Graduate Survey (AGS)

5. Consider the whole package of pay and conditions

  • Check the organisation’s own remuneration policies – including how jobs are described, classified, evaluated, and paid.
  • As well as pay, take account of conditions (including benefits), working arrangements, promotions and reviews, learning and development, superannuation and job security.

Remuneration-related benefits

Benefits can include transport, use of car, childcare or school fees, work clothes, parking, health and fitness programs (e.g. gym memberships and fitness gear), payment of professional registrations or association memberships, and tools and equipment.

  • Check what benefits there are or could be;
  • Calculate their cash value to you;
  • Take account of tax on them.

Salary sacrificing. You may be able to sacrifice some salary for a car, income protection, or additional superannuation.

  • Assess the overall implications for tax, and for salary-related employment benefits. You could check with an accountant and the Australian Taxation Office

Employee share plans. Is there, or could there be, one?

  • If so, assess the real value of the shares and consider any risk.

Working arrangements


  • Check the number of regular hours required, and how they are arranged – whether they are spread over one week or a number of weeks.
  • Are there provisions for any additional hours of work?
  • Does the job involve shift work? If so, is there an additional rate of pay (loadings) applicable?.

Flexible work arrangements

  • Check whether there are flexible start/finish times, options for changing hours and work patterns (e.g. on return from parental leave), completing your work hours in fewer than the usual days, or working from home


  • Check personal leave, sick leave, parental leave and carer’s leave (paid or unpaid) and annual leave
  • Check any provisions for accumulating or purchasing additional leave, or leave to make up for working extra hours.

Promotions and reviews

  • How is performance defined and measured (including KPIs (key performance indicators))?
  • Is performance pay based on performance of the individual, group or organisation?
  • When and how often are reviews of remuneration and performance scheduled?
  • Can reviews occur outside the cycle? You may be able to negotiate a remuneration review outside the regular cycle after a period on your starting rate.
  • Are there opportunities for promotion or progression?
  • Are there opportunities and benefits for additional qualifications, or for changes to job classification or evaluations?

Learning and development

  • Is there any benefit or opportunity to gain additional qualifications?
  • Check what further studies would be relevant, and how the organisation could benefit from supporting your learning and development – through access to study leave, courses, conferences, payment of fees
  • Look into how the job can help build your career in the short and long term.


  • Superannuation can be a very beneficial way to save for retirement.
  • Most employees are entitled to superannuation payments of 9. 5% of pre-tax pay (from 1st July 2014). Check if this applies to you.
  • If so, employers are required to provide a Standard Choice Form so you can choose your superannuation fund.
  • If you already have a superannuation fund then have your super paid into this as having multiple funds can be costly and hard to keep track of.
  • Some employers provide higher superannuation rates.
    • Check if you can negotiate a higher rate of superannuation contribution from your employer, perhaps as a trade-off against other rewards. You may be able to increase your own contributions through a salary sacrificing arrangement.
    • Check if you require insurance If so, check the fees and terms offered by the superannuation fund. Most offer death, disability and income protection insurance more cheaply than insurers outside superannuation.
  • You can use the telephone and web advice services offered by superannuation funds for further explanations and advice.

Job security

Awards and agreements also often include requirements about termination, consultation about workplace change, and redundancy.

Read more

Women and super

Super for beginners

How super works

6. Develop your own proposal

Now is a good time to start or review your own financial plan, before developing your proposal.

Calculate how much pay you need to cover your costs and any emergency.

Think about saving and investing e.g. for a house deposit or for retirement.

Read more

Start with a budget

Then develop an investment plan

And now you need to put aside some quiet time to do the following or work on this with a friend.

  • Base your proposal on what you found in the steps above.
  • Review the range of remuneration for the job
  • Work out where you should sit in the range and what you base that on:
    • your relevant experience, including unpaid voluntary and care work
    • skills,
    • qualifications,
    • how well you meet the selection criteria
    • comparisons with other rates in the organisation, other organisations, in the job type and the industry
  • Review what you found out about conditions, working arrangements, learning and development and superannuation and work out some proposals, taking account of what the organisation already offers, and what other comparable organisations offer
  • Develop an overall, fully costed proposal for a package.
    • You do not need to present your full costings as part of your proposal, but it is important for you to know the total value and value of each component.
    • Good conditions and opportunities can provide a great value package, especially where there are constraints on pay rates.
    • Location of work place (close to home, to public transport, to shops and services) and travel time and cost also affect the value of the overall package
  • Relate your own strengths to what you are asking for, and to the benefits for the organisation.
    • Usually, it won’t be persuasive to argue on the basis of what you need and why
  • Don’t refer to other job offers unless you really could take up other better offers
  • Work out your fall-back and bottom line positions, including possible trade-offs among pay levels and other conditions. This is a useful basis for your negotiations, and it is best not to disclose your bottom line and fall-back positions
  • Discuss your proposal with someone else.
    • You could try paid advice from an accountant or lawyer, or unpaid advice from Working Women’s Centres (in Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia), unions or professional or trade associations, or a friend or family member
  • Negotiate only when you have an offer. Make sure you know who to negotiate with, when and how.


If you are a contractor, you need to:

  • Price your own time.
    • As a starting point you can use the hourly or weekly rate a casual employee doing comparable work would receive, using the steps outlined above.
    • Take account of the need to cover your own superannuation, leave and other conditions, and the reality that as a contractor you may have periods of not enough paid work as well as periods of work pressure
  • Factor in your costs for this project (e.g. communication, travel, specialist services)
  • Allocate a proportion of your overall overheads to this project (e.g. insurance, premises, financial and legal services, equipment)
  • Research other contracts that have been awarded for the type of work you do (e.g. from Government contracting and tendering web sites)
  • Calculate your bottom-line break-even point for the contract, as well as the price you consider provides a fair return for your work
  • Keeping good records of the time you actually spend on the project activities will make it easier to do estimates for future projects.

Read more

How Much Should Contractors Charge?

Find help for independent contractors section for information on employee vs contractor entitlements

7. Practise negotiating

Practising for the negotiations can really help you confidently, consistently and tenaciously present your information, your proposal and your arguments. Developing your negotiating skills can create a favourable impression, and be highly relevant for your job.

  • Start with your strengths
  • Work out likely questions and counter-arguments, and your responses, based on looking at the negotiation from the other party’s perspective. Provide solutions for problems they might see
  • Use a coach or mentor including someone in the organisation if you can
  • Do any training available
  • Use web resources on negotiating. There are many YouTube and other presentations and tips for women negotiating remuneration in various scenarios, including useful phrases to use, and responses to likely questions

Read more

Videos → Nice Girls Just Don’t Get It

Women’s Agenda: Looking for a new job? Negotiate your salary before you say yes

Negotiating successfully

13 Tips For An Unbeatable Interview

Strategies for Salary Negotiation

8. Review the offer

  • Once you have an acceptable offer, ensure you have it in writing in a letter of engagement. Employers have to give the Fair Work Information Statement to all new employees
  • Check that the letter of engagement covers everything you negotiated
  • When you accept the letter of engagement, keep a signed copy
  • Track that what is in your agreement is implemented
  • Think again about saving and investing – e.g. for a house deposit, further study, retirement, travel
    Implement your budget and investment plans.

Read more

Employment Contract Review

Develop an investing plan

9. Employers supporting fair negotiations

Employers can also play a part in ensuring negotiations are fairly and openly based and conducted, and meet legal gender pay equity requirements.

Read more

For good practice guides on gender pay equity:

Equal renumeration

Equal renumeration

Guide to Australian Standard

Gender Pay Equity

Good practice guide for equitable negotiations

Discussion on pay and how it is a key factor affecting relationships at work including the importance of developing pay systems that are appropriate, provide value for money, and that reward workers fairly for the work they perform