72% of UK employees afraid of asking for a pay rise

Research from Randstad reveals that more than seven out of ten UK employees haven’t asked for a pay rise in three years

72% of UK employees afraid of asking for a pay rise

Companies succeed or fail on their ability to attract staff. And it seems as if entrepreneurs looking to retain talent may need to rethink how they set salaries, with new research from Randstad revealing that nearly three-quarters of UK professionals haven’t dared to request a pay rise in the past three years.

In its survey of 2,000 UK employees, the global recruitment agency also revealed why employees feared asking for a wage boost, with 29% saying they dreaded having to justify why they deserved a pay rise to their bosses. Meanwhile, 34% cited a fear of rejection as their main reason for avoiding the remuneration discussion.

Interestingly, inclinations toward asking for a pay rise were not the same across the UK. For instance, workers in East Anglia were the least likely to request bigger pay cheques, as 80% of them hadn’t asked for a salary boost in the past three years. Londoners were on the other side of the spectrum, with 66% not having asked for a pay rise during the same period. And a similar discrepancy was revealed between the sexes: while 11% of men had asked for a pay rise in the past three years, only 5% of women had done the same.

According to the research, millennials seemed more inclined to probe their bosses for more bacon than older peers. Yet, while 14% of workers between the ages of 18 and 24 had asked for a pay rise three or more times in the past three years, 48% of these doubted their abilities when discussing this with managers. Workers over the age of 55 proved more stoical, with only 19% doubting their skills whilst asking for a raise.

“Despite signs pointing to a shortage of professional skills in certain sectors, UK employees still aren’t taking advantage of the increasingly open employment market,” said Mark Bull, UK CEO of Randstad. “With nearly three-quarters not pushing for more money […] questions should be raised about whether UK employers are creating the right working environment for their employees to stay and seek progression.”

Conventional wisdom dictates that if you don’t ask you don’t get but maybe business leaders should make it easier for employees to ask in the first place.

Eric Johansson
Eric Johansson

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