One in six would never ask for a raise

Jul 14 2008 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Granted, it's never an easy conversation to have and can be nerve-wracking at the best of times, yet one in six workers say they would never dream of asking for a pay rise.

A survey by HR services' company Ceridian has found older workers and men are more likely to take the bull by the horns and ask for more money.

Just under a fifth of under-34s felt comfortable asking for a pay rise, against more than eight out of 10 over-35s.

Men were generally more direct about asking for a pay increase than women. Of the 8 per cent who claimed they would negotiate hard for a salary increase, three quarters were men, found Ceridian.

Despite being more afraid to ask themselves, younger people were the more interested in knowing how much their colleagues were paid, with more than seven out of 10 of 18-24 year olds indicating this, as opposed to fewer than a third of over-55s.

The UK is also a secretive nation, with more than half of workers not sharing our salary details, even with family members.

Yet, despite this, the survey of more than 1,000 full-time UK employees also found 46 per cent keen to know what their colleagues earned.

Somewhat hypocritically, around half said they would be interested to know what their colleagues earned, but nearly three quarters at the same time would not tolerate having their salary details disclosed to their colleagues.

Salaries and salary gaps are at the heart of the UK government's new Single Equality Bill which will, among other stipulations, outlaw gagging clauses by employers that stop workers discussing their salaries with each other and will require private or public companies working on state contracts to carry out gender pay audits.

Karan Paige, Ceridian chief people officer, said "There tends to be a strong correlation between successful companies and a reward strategy that has the correct balance between fixed and variable pay, with the variable element being strongly aligned to performance.

"These companies also tend to be better at practising differentiation, so excluding poor performers from bonus payments and disproportionately rewarding great performance," she added.

"In such companies, base pay tends to be linked to a grade framework, which is publicised across the organisation. Whilst top performers are known and celebrated throughout the business, the specifics of bonus payments and their wider remuneration package remain confidential," she continued.

"This approach gives transparency on core salary data and on high and low performers whilst maintaining privacy on absolute total compensation.

"Our research also reinforces the importance of performance reviews, and how if managed correctly, these can help retain your top talent as well as saving the business from incurring unnecessary recruitment costs," she concluded.

One of the reasons people often chose not to divulge their salary details with their family was because it put a cash value on them, said Piers Hollier, a business psychologist at Getfeedback.

"It's not that hard to see why older people aren't hugely interested in others' salary. They have learnt what they can expect to earn for certain roles but young people don't yet have that frame of reference," he stressed.

"Equally, older people may be more content with their work-life balance and salary isn't the only thing on their minds at this stage in their life. This isn't the case with younger people who are still striving to develop a work-life balance," he added.