Employees choose 'root canal' over asking for a pay increase

10 August 2015

Robert Half research reveals employee fear over asking for a salary increase

According to the latest research by global specialist recruiter Robert Half, employees would rather take on some of life’s most daunting tasks than ask their employer for a pay increase they feel they deserve.

Robert Half’s ‘Confidence Matters’ report found while almost 90% of employees believed they deserved a pay rise, only a little more than 50% will ask for one this year.

The survey of more than 1000 US-based employees showed 32% would rather clean the house, 13% would rather look for a new job and a further 7% would rather suffer a root canal than ask for a pay rise.

Robert Half Director Andrew Morris said the US results were reflected in the Australian market, with the reluctance of employees to discuss their salary and ask for a pay increase is ultimately driven by fear.

“People lack the confidence around salary discussions because they are fearful of the outcome around what is viewed as a sensitive topic,” Mr Morris said.

The fear is real according to the survey with more workers comfortable with public speaking (66%), often a source of angst in the workplace, than asking for a salary increase (56%).

“There are steps people can take to ensure salary conversations are less confrontational and approached with confidence,” Mr Morris said.

“Preparation is key. Ensure you do your research to understand what the market is paying and what value you bring to your organisation,” Mr Morris said.

The survey revealed almost 30% of those surveyed had never undertaken the required research before discussing salary increases.

“Knowing what you are worth in the current market is vital in putting your case forward for a pay increase. Seek out the advice of a professional and look at the salary surveys for your industry,” Mr Morris said.

“It’s also important that you don’t ‘ambush’ your employer. It’s in your interest to give them the time to provide a considered response that evaluates your performance fairly.

“Companies want to keep their talent and will pay to keep the best and brightest, so do your homework, sell your business case and be prepared to negotiate,” Mr Morris concluded.

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Gabrielle Nagy  
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