Sep 12

The Great British Pay Rise Survey

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The issue of pay rises in the workplace is rarely far from the news, or our collective minds. From the lop-sided male v female BBC pay scale, to the wild increases of city-slickers at a time of recession, pay rises are quite rightly a divisive subject.

What the press foists upon us is one thing, but we were keen to gauge the views of the British workforce itself, and how they felt the pay rise debate really played out at ground level.

  • Men are three times more likely to have flirted with their boss for a pay rise
  • Both sexes prefer to ask a boss of their own gender for a rise
  • Over 50% of people believe upper classes have an advantage when it comes to pay rises
  • 40% don’t believe performance is the main key to a pay rise

Our survey of 1500 tax-paying British adults looks at how the public judges the pay rise issue, away from the stories dominating the newspaper headlines.


Is it okay to flirt?

Is it OK to flirt?

1 in 3 men find it acceptable to flirt with their boss in order to improve their chances of a pay rise, and 40% admit to having done so. This compares to a mere 12% of women finding flirtation acceptable, with 20% confessing to have employed such a tactic. We also learned the difference in flirtatious behavior in relation to geographical location. Men in London are 20% more likely to flirt than women in the same area.


Male v female bosses

male vs female

A whopping 69% of men believe it’s easier to ask a male boss for a pay rise than a female boss. In contrast, 60% of women find it easier to ask a female boss than a male one. The result shows a public still more comfortable with its own gender when it comes to tricky situations, but with women placing much less emphasis on gender than their male counterparts.


35% of women believe asking for a pay rise makes them ‘pushy’


The results of this question show the confusion surrounding the subject. In workplaces where a set pay structure exists, it is much easier to bring the question up. In workplaces without a set pay structure, the public is undecided as to how they will be perceived when asking.

40% of men believe asking for a pay rise makes them look ambitious, compared to 25% of women. An average of 26% of both genders think it’s assertive, but tellingly, 35% of women are worried it makes them look pushy compared to 19% of men. Around 15% of both sexes feel it makes them look too materialistic. Is this classic British ‘not wanting to make a fuss’ behaviour at work?


Transparency of pay scales


When it comes to pay scales and transparency, men and women’s views differed little. Around 32% of the overall vote want full transparency, with everyone in a workplace knowing everyone else’s income. 28% want this information kept quiet, and 32% are fans of pay scales being public, but specifics kept quiet. With solid arguments behind all three viewpoints, the issue of transparency is certainly one that brings British concepts of fairness to the fore.


The rich still have the upper hand

The rich

Over half the people surveyed thought the upper classes more likely to receive a pay rise than other classes. Despite politicians talking of a ‘classless society’ for decades and class systems evolving with developments in industry, class evidently remains a major issue for the British public, with a majority believing the rich still have the upper hand.


Reasons behind a pay rise

What leads to a pay rise?

40% of people surveyed believe flirtatious tactics or personal assertiveness the key to a pay rise, with a quarter of men putting a raise down to a personal relationship with their boss. However, it is somewhat heart-warming to see that 60% of people still believe the main reason why people receive a pay rise is down to performance. The oft-heard slogan of ‘work hard and prosper’ appears to be alive and well when it comes to Brits and their desire for a raise.

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jamie Millard
jamie Millard

you shouldn’t have to flirt to get a pay rise and those that do shouldn’t profit over those that don’t. the best way to a pay rise should be hard work, dedication and performance.

jamie Millard
jamie Millard


meryl Thomas
meryl Thomas

I have always refused to flirt with the boss, but then I am still at the bottom of the heap. I have seen so many women get their own way with the boss by flirting. Maybe I should have done this,but I have some principles.

claire griffiths
claire griffiths

i dont think its right that you have to flirt to get a pay rise most of the time

Susan Hoggett (@susanhoggett)

I personally wouldn’t do it knowingly, I’ve seen people favoured because of it and it would get you disliked!

Lee Dunne
Lee Dunne

Pay rise’s should be given through hard work and determination not by giving your boss a quick fumble in the printer room, if your boss flirts with you, get him reported. Its unprofessional and shouldn’t be allowed.

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