Ask for a pay rise…or clean the house?

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 payrise next year. 

  • Employees would rather clean the house than ask for a raise
  • Nearly one in 10 (8%) of UK employees would rather go to the dentist than ask for a payrise

LONDON, 11 February 2016 – If the thought of asking for a payrise makes you want to scrub the floors or spend quality time at the dentist's surgery you're not alone.

While 65% of employees surveyed1 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 payrise next 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 payrise (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 this 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.

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director, Robert Half UK said: “It’s amazing that people would rather clean the house or run a marathon than ask for a pay rise. Self-confidence is the foundation of a successful career and the ability to negotiate and articulate well are some of the key soft skills for success. Your professional growth and earning potential depend not just on the demand for your technical skill set, but also on your willingness and ability to negotiate with current and prospective employers."

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 manoeuvre 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.
  4. 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.

- ENDS -

Notes to Editor

17,500 employees in UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the US were surveyed in an independent market research firm.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and