What's a fair salary to pay a 22 year old assistant?

I have an office assistant who is proving quite invaluable to me. She's been with me for coming up on on 2 years now and whilst I've rewarded her with a trip overseas to a conference (she took holidays there afterwards), and a payrise 12 months ago, I really don't know what is a good salary to offer her with her next payrise. She's only 22 so I have to take care not to pay too much so there's room for good increases to try keeping her as long as possible!

Can anyone give me some ideas?
 
What is the going rate for an office assistant? I'm assuming she has no qualifications.

If you value her, maintain a payrate of few % above the award.

Offer her flexibility also - this is often just as important as pay, when it comes to attractiveness in a job.

And keep up any perks, like OS trips.

No need to go to overboard though. Sometimes people will leave, to study, or to expand on their experience, and you can't do too much about it.
 
Something I'm a big believer in is profit share, without knowing your business its hard to no if this idea suits, its just an option that I have found to be a great way to give the team member a huge sense of worth in there role and the business . I agree if you give them a big jump it then makes it tough over the following years.

Dependent on her responsibilities I'd say around the 35 -40k range. In the past I've lost people of say 5-10k pa. It cost me more than that to retrain let alone find another great person.

I'm sure each business has a ceiling for the amount a person can be paid. Thats were great things like holiday's( business trips), cars , phones etc can help make up a perceived shortfall.
 
Thanks guys. I take care of her mobile phone bill and bought her an iPhone already. She has no qualifications. She has great flexibility due to the nature of the business we work in. During a quiet period last year she went home an hour early every day (on my insistance) and now it's really busy but she's coming in to work on Monday (public holiday) to keep up with everything.

It's an unsual industry and something others offer to work for free in for 12 months to break into it. She came to me that way actually. Offered to work for a day a week to get experience (but I chose to pay her) and after 3 weeks I hired her full time.

She started as a 20yo on $31K, then it was raised it to $33,800 a year ago. Maybe if I raise another $60pw to $36,920 for now.

I like the percentage of profits thing, but I think I'll keep that up my sleeve until she's been here another couple of years and has gained more experience. I've been teaching her different aspects of my job until she masters it, then we move onto another area for her to learn. Eventually she will want to leave and do it on her own, but maybe a share of profits will hold her longer.

She's very happy and loves working with me so no fear of losing her at present, but I want to ensure it stays that way.

Thanks again for your input.
 
something others offer to work for free in for 12 months to break into it.

Good grief, who on earth can afford to work for free for a year unless they are independently wealthy?

Backtracking - the idea of profit sharing is really good. If you offer a deferred % profit sharing plan which become vested in, say, 2 years, and then a little bit more 4 years down the track, then that's a pretty good incentive to stay.
 
Ask her what she thinks is a fair salary....then if it sounds fair to you then one could say its fair all round.

No good just guessing.
 
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One downside with 'profit share' is that you actually have to show the employees what the profit is. The main reason to do this is if the employee is in some way directly linked to the profit of the company and /or can in someway alter/increase the profit of the company.

If there is no direct link between the employee and the companies profitability or you don't necessarily want to divulge the company figures then I think it is better to simply give an annual bonus. This boost the pay for the employee if and when you can afford it but doesn't translate to oncosts such as retrenchment payout, holiday loadings, long service loading etc.

This strategy was particularly effective when we closed down our business as it left the size of payouts down to our discretion rather than some statutory requirements.

I pretty well agree with Weg keep the pay a couple of % above the norm and plenty of perks but not so that they are habitual.

Cheers
 
Good grief, who on earth can afford to work for free for a year unless they are independently wealthy? .

I would think any young person still living at home would be able to do this as it really is not much different to going to uni and having a one day a week job. I mean, someone could work for nothing through the week and work one day a weekend for spending money.

I am thinking there would be plenty of young people who are desperate to get into certain industries (film, journalism, directing) who think a foot in the door is worth trading some free time for. Doing work for free to break into an area of choice would appeal to some people but the risk is that there is no guarantee of a permanent placement. An unscrupulous employee could really take advantage of willing and gullible applicants, promising a job after some experience and never delivering.
 
You're right. We work in the music industry - a very desirable field for young people. Some people I know do take advantage of the willingness of others to work for peanuts or free. I'm not one of them. We don't even take work experience kids because I don't feel they'd learn anything getting coffee and photocopying and they're not around long enough to teach anything to.

My assistant was the first person I ever agreed to allow to come in once a week (and I DID pay her) but she was offered to work for nothing to break into it and learn.

There's not a lot of 'real' education at schools for this sort of work, so it's considered as good as going to Uni I guess - if you want a career in it.
 
It's an unsual industry and something others offer to work for free in for 12 months to break into it. She came to me that way actually. Offered to work for a day a week to get experience (but I chose to pay her) and after 3 weeks I hired her full time.

That in itself tell her she is very fortunate to be in the job. Hopefully she takes the calls from people inquiring about 'her' job ;).

She's very happy and loves working with me so no fear of losing her at present, but I want to ensure it stays that way.

Many of these hard to break into industries pay peanuts to those with qualifications, so continuing to pay well should keep her happy.

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I would think any young person still living at home would be able to do this as it really is not much different to going to uni and having a one day a week job. I mean, someone could work for nothing through the week and work one day a weekend for spending money.

Oh, yes, you are right - didn't think of that.

Bit like the poor kids who spend $80,000 on flight training and spend a year taking people up parachute jumping for $1 trip. (true)
 
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Yes she does take calls from people looking for her job and I know she considers herself lucky to work with me but that doesn't give me the right to take advantage of her. I was used like that when I first broke into the business and it's not something I want to pass on. I want to reward her and pay her decently because otherwise she may do what I did after a couple of years and tell her boss to shove it and go out on her own!
 
Yes she does take calls from people looking for her job and I know she considers herself lucky to work with me but that doesn't give me the right to take advantage of her. I was used like that when I first broke into the business and it's not something I want to pass on. I want to reward her and pay her decently because otherwise she may do what I did after a couple of years and tell her boss to shove it and go out on her own!

I wasn't insinuating you would or should take advantage of her, moreso I was highlighting that she should know she is fortunate to be in a well paid and indemand position.

My cousin left one of these positions in the Arts recently. She was a PA to the Director (actually about 3 or 4 of them, and had to train them up) and paid a paltry salary for what she did. She was there for about 12 years, and people were falling over themselves to get her job and experience.

She left because the job lost it's novelty, and she wanted to try something different.
 
Oh I know you weren't insinuating that! Sounds like your cousin worked for the sort of people I've been talking about.

More to the point I want to make sure she hangs around because I consider her above average and she has a lot of potential.
 
Oh I know you weren't insinuating that! Sounds like your cousin worked for the sort of people I've been talking about.

Her boss was the SA Government, but the people she worked with were great (she spoke highly of them and her job).

The experience in a top Arts Festival position here, probably holds more value than the pay itself, and many, like my cousin, could probably have worked elsewhere for more, but chose not to.

Your industry does sound a little different, so I see where you're coming from.
 
Why don't you ask her what she thinks she is worth?

When I was in the Army some officers used to ask their subordinates to assess themselves as an exercise. Generally people were pretty self critical.

She might be very happy with her income.

She may ask for a small raise well within your capabilities.

It sounds like she enjoys her job and is happy enough. I would love a boss that took me OS and treated me as a valued member of the team. You clearly know that it is not just about the money.

Or you could pay her what she is worth to you?

Do you need a funny looking bloke like me to work for you? :)
 
Oh, yes, you are right - didn't think of that.

Bit like the poor kids who spend $80,000 on flight training and spend a year taking people up parachute jumping for $1 trip. (true)

He values the hours.

Guys flying to Rottnest Island in Perth do it for free. Saves them paying to get their hours up.
 
Good idea Simon. Maybe I will ask her. She needs to improve her negotiation skills in this business anyway so it will help her ;)
 
Or you could pay her what she is worth to you?

This. Why don't you just pay her what you think she is worth. Obviously you think highly of her and believe she is worth more than what you are paying her (although by the sounds of it, she's got a pretty sweet deal already). Why complicate matters? Keep it simple.
 
She does need to improve her negotiation skills so I will ask her what she is worth. If she doesn't say as much as I think I should pay her, I'll still pay it to her. That way she is learning too :)

Thanks all for your input - really helpful
 
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