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Ask For A Pay Raise ... Or Get A Root Canal?
New Study Reveals What People Would Rather Do Than Ask for a Raise and Provides Insight Into Worker Confidence About Salary and Jobs

MENLO PARK, Calif., June 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- If the thought of asking for a raise makes you want to scrub the floors, update your resume or spend quality time at the dentist's office, you're not alone. While 89 percent of U.S. workers surveyed by staffing firm Robert Half believe they deserve a raise, just over half (54 percent) plan to ask for one this year. Instead of making the case for a pay bump, many workers would rather clean the house (32 percent), look for a new job (13 percent), get a root canal (7 percent) or be audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (6 percent).

Robert Half Confidence Matters: Do Workers Have What it Takes When it Comes to Jobs and Money?

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Robert Half's Confidence Matters research outlines workers' confidence levels and attitudes about a variety of career and salary topics. More than 1,000 U.S. workers employed full-time in office environments were surveyed by an independent research firm for it.

"Self-confidence is the foundation of a successful career," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. "Your professional growth and earning potential depend not just on the demand for your skill set, but also on your willingness and ability to negotiate with current and prospective employers."

The survey revealed several areas in which workers are feeling upbeat. Eighty percent of respondents are confident about the stability of their current employer, and nearly two-thirds (65 percent) are more confident in their job prospects now compared to one year ago.

Surprisingly, the research also indicates that one of life's greatest fears may be losing its stigma, at least when compared to talking about pay: More workers are comfortable speaking in public (66 percent) than asking for a raise (56 percent) or negotiating salary at a new job (61 percent).

While no one likes to be turned down for a raise, workers are split as to what they would do if they asked – but didn't get – the pay hike they wanted. The largest group of respondents – 30 percent – would wait for the next performance review to ask again. Another 24 percent would ask for better perks, and 19 percent would look for a new job.

When it comes to knowing what they're worth in the market, the majority of employees are keeping tabs: 59 percent of professionals have checked their salary against market rates based on third-party research within the last year; 20 percent have done so in the last month. However, 27 percent of workers surveyed admitted they had never done this research.

McDonald noted that those who invest time in researching compensation levels are on the right track. "If you don't know the average pay rates for people with your skills in your city, it's hard to make a compelling case for a higher salary," he said. "Those who don't do their homework often veer to one of two extremes – either they don't negotiate at all, or they demand too much. Professionals who back up their request with data and point out the value they bring to the firm are likely to have more productive discussions with their manager."

Robert Half's Confidence Matters project also revealed:

  • The most likely employee to ask for a raise is male, ranging from 18-34 years of age, with 10 or fewer years of professional experience and living in the Western United States.
  • Twenty-seven percent of employees in the Northeast United States would look for a new job if their request for a raise got turned down – the highest percentage of any region. Workers in the South came in next, at 19 percent.
  • Employees in the South show the greatest confidence in the stability of their employers.
  • More men than women would rather look for a new job or be audited by the IRS instead of asking for a raise.

About Robert Half
Founded in 1948, Robert Half is the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm. The company has more than 340 staffing locations worldwide and offers online job search services on its divisional websites, all of which can be accessed at For career and hiring advice, visit the Robert Half blog at

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SOURCE Robert Half

For further information: Maureen Carrig, (425) 945-2040,