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Would you rather clean the house than ask for a pay rise?

A business man struggles to ask for a pay rise

If the thought of asking for a pay rise creates a sense of dread so bad you’d rather scrub the floors or spend quality time at the dentist’s surgery, you’re not alone.

While 65% of employees surveyed by specialist recruitment firm Robert Half have more confidence in their job prospects compared to a year ago, only 59% plan to ask for a pay rise this year. Instead of making the case for a pay increase, employees would rather clean the house, (24%) look for a new job, (18%) go to the dentist, (6%) or even run a marathon (3%).

Globally, employees in Hong Kong are the most likely to prefer to look for a new job than ask for a pay rise, (44%) followed by Singapore (34%) and those in the UK (23%). French, German and US employees would rather clean the house (46%, 46% and 32% respectively). Surprisingly, 7% of US employees stated they would rather have dental root canal work than ask for more money.

UK workers are much less likely to ask for a salary rise than those in other parts of the world over the next year. Just over half (54%) plan to request a rise, compared to 77% of workers in France, 78% in Germany and 81% in Brazil.  However, UK workers may be more likely to be ‘suffering in silence’, as a quarter (23%) would rather look for another job than ask their boss for a raise.

Robert Half suggests that employees follow these four steps when asking for a raise:

  • Do your research – before you approach your boss for additional pay, you need to do your homework. Know how much someone with your level of skill and experience is worth on the open market by checking comparable roles on online job boards and benchmarking pay.
  • Track your successes – when you enter pay negotiations, you should do so armed with information about your achievements and contributions to your team, department and organisation. Being able to provide qualitative and quantitative evidence of the value you offer will strengthen your case.
  • Be flexible – You should know exactly what you want from negotiations in terms of pay and set a realistic target for your new salary. But you also need to be flexible in the event your employer turns round and says ‘no’. It might be that there simply is no room to maneuver in the budget and your request for more money cannot be accepted. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t secure additional benefits – for instance, an additional week of annual leave or flexible hours. If all else fails, ask your employer to commit to a pay review six months along the line, when your organisation may be in better financial shape.
  • Get your timing right – timing is everything in salary negotiations. You’ve got to choose an appropriate time to request improved pay, based on external factors such as the performance of your company, its current staffing needs and wider industry trends. If your organisation has slashed its budget and recently made redundancies, the chances are you aren’t going to be successful. In fact, your employer may be happy to see you leave due to wage bill pressures.