Half of UK workers plan to ask for a pay rise in next 12 months

Robert Half highlights half (49%) of UK workers intend to ask their boss for a pay rise in the next 12 months.

•    The average UK worker has been planning to ask their boss for a 6% pay rise for the last four months
•    Over a third (34%) have delayed asking their boss for an increase for fear of rejection

London, 16 January 2020 – Half (49%) of UK workers intend to ask their boss for a pay rise in the next 12 months, according to new research from recruitment specialist Robert Half UK1.

Record employment levels2 in 2019 have continued to support the emerging buyer’s market for professionals with in-demand skillsets, placing upward pressure on salaries, with highly skilled employees becoming increasingly impatient for a pay rise. The average UK worker intends to ask their boss for a 6% pay rise. This would equate to an increase in the average weekly wage from £585 to £620 for a full-time employee and an uptick from £197 to £209 for a part-time employee3.

Men are more likely than women to ask their boss for a salary hike (56% versus 44%) while workers between the ages of 25 and 34 are the most likely to ask for a pay rise (58%).

Asking the boss

It takes an average of four months for employees to work up the courage to ask for a pay rise, while 14% of workers have been preparing to ask their boss to increase their salary for over six months.

Over a third (34%) of workers delayed asking their boss for a pay rise because they’re worried that they would say no, rising to two in five (38%) female workers. Meanwhile, a quarter (24%) said that their workplace culture makes it difficult to ask for a pay rise.

Table 1: Reasons why workers have delayed asking for a pay rise  
Waiting for performance review 46%
Worried they'll say no 34%
Difficult to ask for one in my workplace culture (difficult to ask) 24%
Not enough self-belief / confidence 23%
Embarrassment 18%
Company cannot financially support it 13%
Difficult to the find the time 12%
I have not been putting it off 10%

Source: Robert Half UK, 2019

Of those workers who were denied a pay rise, over half (55%) started looking for another job and one in five (18%) admitted to starting their job search within a week of the initial rejection. 

Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK commented: “Record employment rates in 2019 have placed added pressure on employers. The war for talent shows no sign of slowing down and talented employees will be fielding multiple job offers.

“Therefore, employers will need to consider their options when they’re retaining top talent. As our Salary Guide highlights a competitive remuneration package is the cornerstone to any offer, but employees are also receptive to other benefits. Flexible working, health and wellbeing perks and training opportunities are increasingly popular with employees and should be considered as part of any offer to retain a talented member of staff.”

– ENDS –

Notes to editors
1The study was developed by Robert Half and conducted in June 2019 by Censuswide among 2,000 full and part-time workers.

About the 2020 Salary Guide
Since 1950, Robert Half has produced Salary Guides to offer business owners, hiring managers and professionals information on prevailing starting salaries and insight into the latest employment trends. Companies consult the annual Salary Guide to determine appropriate remuneration for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, marketing and business support professionals at all levels.

Information in the Salary Guide is based on the thousands of job searches, negotiations and placements managed each year by Robert Half's recruitment consultants, along with the company's ongoing surveys of executives. Continuing or ongoing salaries are not reported because many external factors – such as seniority, work ethic, non-monetary benefits, job performance and training – impact the salaries of permanent professionals as work histories develop.

Access the Robert Half Salary Guide

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 roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.