More women than men are discouraged to ask for a pay rise

- March 1, 2019 3 MIN READ

Based on the findings of new research released by Employsure, HR expert Jessica Everitt says employers can take positive steps to help defeat the gender pay gap.

An employee approaching you for a quick conversation to request a pay rise is a familiar scenario for most employers.

According to new survey findings from the Employsure State of Work research, a whopping 70 per cent of working Aussies are not comfortable or aren’t sure how to ask their boss for a pay rise, yet their perceptions about how much they are worth might be impacting productivity.

Talent Manager at Employsure, Jessica Everitt says, “It’s no surprise that almost half of respondents expressed they would work harder if they were paid more.

Jessica’s advice for employees asking for a pay rise is to, “Demonstrate the value and expertise you bring to your position,” she said. “Chances are, it will feel scary and unnatural. But, your best bet at success is to demonstrate how you have consistently gone above and beyond meeting your managers expectations.”

On the other side, Jessica says pay conversations can often be a complicated and delicate process for managers and employers. “Some employees will be expecting a huge increase in pay simply for doing their job. Managing the sometimes unrealistic expectations of employees requires a careful balancing act,” she said.

Employers and managers also need to consider the replacement cost of losing that employee if they were to resign, including downtime to recruit, the recruitment cost and potential loss of clients or output, “You might not necessarily have to meet them all the way on their expectations, but when factoring what you can afford to pay, you need to consider what your replacement cost would be if you lost that person to one of your competitors,” she said.

The findings from the State of Work Report also shows 1 in 5 Australians believe they are paid unfairly. Interestingly, more women (46.8%) are not comfortable to ask their boss for a pay rise compared to men (35.2%). The findings come just ahead of a renewed pressure to narrow the gender pay gap in 2019.

With the mounting dialogue about gender pay gaps, Jessica says, there is a body of evidence to show that women do not receive the same remuneration as men for equivalent job responsibilities; and the evidence suggests, “When women do ask, there is evidence to suggest their request is less likely to be approved; creating a cycle of discomfort,” she said

Another challenge in closing the pay gap according to Jessica, is that current laws do not address pay-gap discrimination, since it’s up to federal lawmakers to influence necessary legal reform in this area. Nevertheless, “It’s been amazing to see gender pay reporting become one of the biggest business stories last year, along with greater transparency around discrimination. We were helped by the #MeToo campaign – but we now have people speaking about eliminating the gender pay gap as a business imperative. That is the next wave we’re about to see.”

According to the survey, men are more motivated by money than women, with almost half of working men (46.6%) saying they would work harder if they were paid more.

“The expectations of companies and in Australia’s workplace relations framework as a whole, is that you need to see progress year on year. The reasons behind the gender pay gap are hard to shift, so there will be a challenge of managing expectations. But this research and continued publicity will positively push more employers to think about what positive steps they can take,” she said.

The Employsure State of Work Report was conducted in partnership between Employsure and Roy Morgan, surveying over 600 working Australians and is publicly available here.

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