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72% of employees have not asked for a pay rise in past three years, says Randstad

The fear of rejection is the greatest barrier to UK employees asking for pay rises, according to a study by Randstad.


The study found that over a third (35.1%) cite fear of being turned down as the main reason for not asking for a salary boost, closely followed by their bosses’ reactions (34%) as well as the prospect of having to explain why they deserve it (29%).


Randstad says the figures go some way to explaining why 72% of UK employees have not asked for an increase in the past three years and why only around a third (34%) would consider asking their current boss for a pay increase. Almost half of respondents (45%) are ‘very’ or ‘quite’ concerned that asking for a rise would jeopardise their current role.


According to the study, Londoners are the most buoyant about their prospects for a salary rise with more than a third (34%) having asked for an increase over the past three years. Levels of confidence dwindle outside the capital, however. Least likely to ask for rises are East Anglians – 80.2% haven’t asked for a single increase in the past three years, followed by East Midlanders (80%) and employees in the North West (78%).


The most forthright about asking for pay increases are Brits in the North East of England where 12% have asked at least three times in the past three years, followed by Yorkshire & Humber (11.1%) and London (10.97%).


Men are more than twice as likely as women to have sought a pay increase (11.2% vs 5%), while more than seven in ten (72%) women would never consider asking for a rise compared to just 57.8% of men, according to the study. Fear of rejection (44%) was the main reason for women not wishing to take the plunge while, for men, the primary barrier was their managers’ reactions (26%), Randstad claims.


Young people between 18-24 are the most eager to seek higher compensation – 14% have asked for at least three pay rises in the past three years – but this age group is also the most prone to doubt their abilities in front of their boss (48%), in comparison to the relatively stoic 55+ bracket (19%).


Mark Bull, UK CEO of Randstad, commented, “Despite signs pointing to a shortage of professional skills in certain sectors, UK employees still aren’t taking advantage of this increasingly open employment market. With nearly three quarters not pushing for more money, and with explanations ranging from fear of rejection to jeopardising their current roles, questions should be raised about whether UK employers are creating the right working environment for their employees to stay and seek progression.”


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