• 44% of office workers say inflation and the cost of living are their top concerns relating to work-life
  • 96% of business leaders are increasing their salary budget this financial year by an average of 20%
  • 81% of employers are expecting more employees to ask for a pay rise in 2022
  • 44% or workers are planning to ask for a pay rise before the end of 2022
  • 78% say they are likely to look for a new role if they don’t receive a pay rise this year

Sydney, 18 August 2022 – In the current economic climate, new independent research by specialised recruiter Robert Half finds that the majority (44%) of Australian office workers consider inflation and the cost of living to be their top work-life concern, with three times more workers indicating this than high levels of stress (15%) or work-life balance (12%).

In good news for office workers, Robert Half’s 2022 Salary Guide review reveals that employers are factoring in inflation to their salary budgets in a bid to alleviate cost of living pressures, with nearly all (96%) business leaders increasing their salary budget this financial year by an average of 20%.


Businesses increase salary budget to account for shifting market

Tech teams are poised to receive the most significant salary budget increases, as Australian CIOs say they are planning a 26% increase in their salary budget on average. Remuneration budget increases across finance functions are expected to be slightly lower with CFOs revealing an average rise of 22%.

At the same time, salary budget increases are expected to be higher overall in larger organisations compared to smaller organisations with the survey showing salary budgets in small companies will increase by an average of 10% compared to 21% in medium-sized companies and 29% in large companies.    






Business size




Employers increasing salary budget







Salary budget increase (%)







Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 300 business leaders, including 100 CFOs and 100 CIOs, in Australia.


Aside from increasing salary budgets, Australian businesses are actively addressing pay in the current climate. Other strategies to address pay fairness when inflation is high include:

  • increasing pay transparency in comparison to other organisations (58%),
  • preparing people managers to clearly communicate about pay (52%),
  • proactively addressing employee concerns about salary (49%).


Vocal employees poised for biggest salary increase

More than eight-in-ten (81%) employers are expecting more employees to ask for a pay rise in 2022 due to increased inflation and cost of living pressures, and nearly all employers (96%) are prepared to award raises to a portion of their workforce.  Of this, 63% of businesses will only extend pay raises to those who ask while just one third (33%) will extend raises without their employees asking them. Just 3% don't plan to give raises their employees this year.

According to a survey of Australian workers, however, less than half (44%) are planning to ask for a pay rise before the end of 2022, yet more than three quarters (78%) are likely to look for a new role if they don’t receive a pay rise this year – putting the onus on employers to proactively address remuneration plans for the year ahead with their existing staff or risk an exodus of talent.

“The sudden rise in inflation that we have recently seen means that employees who have not received a pay rise from their employer are now on a lower income compared to a few months ago. Unsurprisingly, rising inflation and cost of living pressures have put salaries in the spotlight for Australian workers as they seek to mitigate any financial challenges,” said David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific in announcing Robert Half’s latest survey results.

“Our research highlights that while salary is an important factor to workers, fewer employees are intending to raise salary issues with their employer than there are employers who are willing to give a raise. In the current changeable economic climate, there’s no doubt that companies are under pressure to regularly evaluate and benchmark their remuneration structure against the market. This reinforces the importance of communication for both parties: employers should frequently address salary expectations with their valued team members, and workers should be upfront about their work-life needs – remuneration or otherwise – to ensure a transparent and satisfactory working relationship.”

“While we know that flexibility has been a significant driver of employees’ and candidates’ decision-making in the wake of the pandemic, remuneration is now becoming a primary concern as it’s expected to increasingly impact work-life. Importantly, salary expectations among contract workers are also rising due to the increased ancillary costs of taking on a role, such as transport and childcare,” concluded Jones.      



Notes to editors 

About the research 

The study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted online in June 2022 by an independent research company, surveying 300 hiring managers, including 100 CFOs and 100 CIOs, from companies across Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management, and trends in the workplace.   

The Australian worker study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted online by an independent research firm in June 2022, surveying 1,019 office workers from across Australia.


Lynn Reviers
Senior Communications Manager, Asia Pacific
E: lynn.reviers@roberthalf.com.au