Asking for a pay rise

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The start of a new year is always a good time to review work goals and make plans for the next 12 months. For many people, this will also be a time when they’re thinking about whether their salary matches the effort they’re putting in at work.

A recent study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research highlights some of the issues that asking for a pay rise can bring up. The study used real adverts for an administrative assistant role and explained that the wages were negotiable. Based on observations of 2,500 people, the researchers found that female workers were unlikely to even request a higher salary unless their boss specifically instructed them to. Male workers, on the other hand, were more likely to open negotiations and therefore “reap a disproportionate amount of the surplus wage”.

Gender differences aside, the study emphasises how awkward having a conversation about your own monetary “value” in an organisation can be. The situation can be doubly sensitive for HR professionals…


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