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Men more likely to ask for a pay rise – and get more when they do

23 Apr 2019 By Lauren Brown

Study reveals women are more likely to negotiate working hours, as experts say speaking to an employer ‘shouldn’t be a scary prospect’

Men are more likely than women to ask for a pay rise at work, research has found, and are likely to receive a larger sum when they do. 

A survey of 1,200 UK workers by CV-Library found two in three men (64 per cent) were comfortable asking for a pay rise, compared to just 43 per cent of women.

More than half of women (55 per cent) admitted they had never negotiated on their salary, compared to just 40 per cent of men. And according to the findings, men were more likely to receive a larger pay rise.

The majority (51 per cent) of women reported they were most likely to get a pay rise of up to 2 per cent, compared to 29 per cent of men. Men were consistently more likely to get an increase of 3-5 per cent or greater.


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Women were also more likely to negotiate working hours than salary, and more likely to ask for alterations to their working hours than men. The survey found 56 per cent of women had negotiated when they worked, compared to just 41 per cent of men.

However, in general, men were more likely to negotiate on specific parts of a job offer, for example job title, than women (55 per cent compared to 42 per cent).

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library, said: “In this day and age, it’s concerning to see that women are still holding back from negotiations in the workplace. Whether it’s salary, working hours or job title, it’s important to be direct with your employer about your needs.” 

Biggins added there could be many reasons for the disparity but said it seemed men were happier to advocate on their own behalf and that this “surely has contributed toward their higher earnings.” 

“If you suspect that you’re being paid less than a colleague for the same job, you’re well within your rights to confront the issue head on,” he said.

“Taking ownership is the best way to start closing that gender pay gap. Communicating with your employer doesn’t have to be a scary prospect. They’re paying you to do a job well and will want to know you’re fully equipped to do so. Set aside some time and schedule an appointment to put your stakes in the ground.

“After all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” 

Aliya Vigor-Robertson, co-founder of Journey HR, said a good relationship between staff and senior leaders was vital to enabling the productive communication needed to tackle the subject of salary. 

She said it was not only important for staff to know how appraisals and performance measurement systems worked, but also how they were linked to salary increases. If this was absent, the lack of clarity would leave some employees feeling nervous asking about their pay. 

“Unwillingness to talk about pay reflects a wider workplace issue,” she added. “Staff can often get frustrated if they feel like their achievements aren’t being acknowledged – and rewarded – by management. And by the time they speak up, it’s often too late, causing the business to lose key talent, industry knowledge and skills when these people move on.

“It’s the responsibility of management to make sure staff feel confident and secure enough to raise these conversations and explain why they deserve a higher salary.”

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