A fifth of Australians would look for a new job if they don’t receive a pay rise

26 May 2016

Independent research from specialised recruiter Robert Half reveals that almost half (44%) of Australian office workers plan to ask for a pay rise this year and a fifth (19%) would look for a new job if they were denied a salary increase. 

The results of this survey reveal that Generation Y are more willing (57%) to ask for a pay rise compared to Generation X (46%) and the Baby Boomer generation (30%). 

When asked what the main reason is for requesting a salary increase, almost half (47%) state that their salary has not evolved with their job duties and responsibilities. A quarter find a salary increase necessary to support their lifestyle, while 14% say their salary doesn’t align with the market rate in the industry. Finally, more than one in ten (12%) say they need a rise to cover basic living needs.

David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific said the following: "There is a growing confidence among workers – primarily in New South Wales and Victoria - about their future employment prospects.”

“In the current market, employees generally know their market value and will take this into account when they come into contact with new job opportunities and when they are negotiating salary increases.” 

“Businesses recognise the importance of salary increases to keep talent within the company. Having a competitive remuneration policy is a critical priority for businesses today," David Jones said.

It can of course happen that an employer decides not to grant a wage increase. In that case, 35% of Australian office workers would wait until the next performance review to ask again for a salary rise. Nearly three in ten (28%) would request an alternative, such as non-financial benefits or a different role that pays more. Almost one fifth (19%) would take more drastic measures and would look for another job if they get a no.

If you asked for a salary increase at your current employer but did not receive one, what would be your next move?

Wait for next performance review to ask again for a salary increase 35%
Ask for something else (like more benefits, or a different role that pays more) 28%
Look for a new job 19%
Complain to someone other than my boss (e.g., co-worker, friend) 3%
Other 2%
Do nothing 13%

Source: independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 1,000 Australian office workers.

"Not getting a pay increase does not necessarily mean the end of the negotiation. There are several alternatives to a salary increase. Just think about non-financial benefits or flexible working hours. By proposing an alternative employees can increase the likelihood of achieving a positive outcome.”

“It is important, however, for employees to determine why they haven’t received a pay rise and - if possible – address with their employer about what is required to achieve one in the future," David Jones said. 

"No, you do not get a salary increase." - 5 tips to cope with a 'no'

  1. Remain professional - No matter what your plan is if you do not get a pay rise, always act professionally. It is important not to hurt your manager’s trust and to keep the door open for a future discussion on wage increases. Jokes and empty threats are definitely not appropriate.
  2. Look for creative alternatives - No pay rise? That does not mean you cannot get a better overall remuneration package. You can, for example, ask for additional holidays, flexible working hours and better/more non-financial benefits. Many companies would grant these extras more easily than a (permanent) wage increase.
  3. Put yourself in the shoes of your manager - Try to take into account external factors such as the overall business results and the pressure that your leadership is facing. Perhaps there is temporarily no room to grant wage increases. By asking open questions during the discussion you can find out more about the underlying reason for the decision and take action from there.
  4. Time for self-reflection - This is a perfect opportunity to reflect on how you evaluate yourself as an employee. What projects have you managed successfully the past year? What problems did you encounter and what was the main reason? By asking yourself these questions, you can easily pick up on your manager’s expectations and your own objectives.
  5. Look ahead - Do not feel discouraged if the answer is 'no'. Although you have not received a pay rise, this is a chance to explore how you can exceed the expectations of your supervisor. Set some clear goals with your manager and plan a follow-up meeting after a few months in order to discuss your progress and results. Who knows, you might get a pay rise faster than you think.


About the research
The study was initiated by Robert Half and was conducted anonymously by an independent research firm, among 1,000 Australian office workers.

Contact Us


Gabrielle Nagy  
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
Tel: 02 8028 7751
Email: [email protected]

Share This Page