Too scared for a raise
Workers spooked to ask for more
SALARIES are barely growing and workers are too scared to ask for a raise, with almost half afraid it could cost them their jobs.
Research shows 50 per cent of workers had not received a pay increase in the past two years and 45 per cent thought asking for a pay rise could jeopardise job security.
But psychologist Sabina Read said those concerns were not typically valid.
“Initiating a salary-related conversation rarely correlates negatively with job security, as long as the topic is broached with sound preparation and factual information as opposed to emotional pleas,” she said.
She said too many people believed others should notice their behaviour or needs.
“This faulty thinking can apply when asking for a hug from a partner to a raise in the workplace, and often our hesitation is fear-based — we don’t want to be rejected, so we keep our needs to ourselves,” Ms Read said. “Leave the emotion at the door, and go for it. Even if the answer is no, you will have kickstarted a useful and valid conversation rather than stewing in unproductive, passive resentment juices.”
Recruitment agency Adecco managing director Marianna Mood believed more guidance was needed on how to discuss salary with a manager.
“We often see candidates coming in for new positions with their main motivation being to increase their salary, but often they haven’t had that conversation with their current manager,” she said.
Workers should have the pay rise talk after a year in a role, and approach employers with examples of their performance and an understanding of the current job market.
But Career Development Association of Australia spokeswoman Rebecca Fraser recommended being prepared for an employer to turn down a pay rise request.
If the company could not afford to offer more money, she said workers could instead ask for extra annual leave or education opportunities.
Australian salaries increased 2.3 per cent in the year to September, just ahead of the consumer price index at 1.9 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Rises ranged from 1.8 per cent in mining and retail trade to 2.8 per cent in health care and social assistance.
Andrew Lafontaine, head of organisational strategy practice at organisation consultancy Korn Ferry, said that forecast shortages of highly skilled talent in sectors such as IT and health could push up salaries. “We’ve had low wage growth for a very long time but it may be a trigger for wage growth to go up,” he said.