Is Asking for a Raise Really Worse Than an IRS Audit?

asking for a raise

Feeling apprehensive about asking for a raise? You’re not alone. The majority of U.S. workers feel they deserve a higher salary, but just over half plan to ask for one.

Robert Half’s recent Confidence Matters study asked more than 1,000 full-time professional employees in the United States about their confidence levels and attitudes concerning their careers and compensation. Almost 90 percent of those surveyed feel they deserve a raise, but only 54 percent plan to ask for a salary increase this year.

In fact, many people absolutely dread the thought of asking for more money: 32 percent of those surveyed said they would rather clean the house, 13 percent would rather look for a new job, 7 percent would prefer getting a root canal … and 6 percent would rather be audited by the IRS. Here are more insights on salary-related matters brought to light in the study:

Employees have good reasons to want more pay

Among employees who do plan on asking for a raise, reasons included increased job duties, higher costs for basic needs and a lower-than-market pay rate. One-third of survey participants said they would save or invest their salary increase, while nearly a quarter would use it to pay down debts.

Most people know their worth

Among survey respondents, 59 percent had checked their salary against national averages based on third-party research. Twenty percent said they had checked the market rate in the last month.

Employees’ confidence levels vary

Many employees may need a confidence boost when it comes to asking for a raise, but the majority of workers surveyed are very confident of their prospects in today’s job market. According to the study:

• 65 percent of survey respondents would be more confident looking for a job now than just a year ago
• 30 percent of those who say they’d ask for a raise would, if turned down, ask again at their next performance review
• 19 percent would be willing to look for a new job if turned down for a raise

If you feel deserving of a raise but lack the confidence to ask for one, there’s plenty you can do to improve your situation. Keep track of your accomplishments and contributions at your organization, practice your pitch with a friend before meeting with your boss and develop a strategy before entering this conversation.

Above all, know your value. Reputable resources such as the OfficeTeam Salary Guide will tell you the high and low national averages for your position; you can then use our Salary Calculator to customize compensation data to your area. If your salary is below the market rate, use this information as leverage when asking for a raise.

Are you planning to ask for a salary increase? Share your confidence-building tips in the comments below.

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