Global survey: women underpaid but don’t ask for raise or promotion

Global survey: women underpaid but don’t ask for raise or promotion

Women are less likely than men to say the salary is OK but they anyway don’t ask for a raise or a promotion, according to consultancy PwC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey comprising 52 000 workers in 44 countries. “Women were 7 points less likely than men to say they are fairly rewarded financially, but still 7 points less likely to ask for a raise. Women were also 8 points less likely to ask for a promotion, and that request is more likely to fall on deaf ears – as women are 8 points less likely than men to feel their manager listens to them”, the report says.

One of the quickest ways to strengthen the workforce is to ensure women are not overlooked – which means addressing the culture, systems and structures that can lead to women losing out”, says Pete Brown, co-leader of the company’s Global People and Organisation Service.

35% of the workforce are planning to ask their employer for more money in the next 12 months. Pressure on pay is highest in the tech sector where 44% of workers surveyed plan to ask for a raise and is lowest in the public sector (25%).

The so called Great Resignation with people moving to new positions will continue apace in the year ahead as one in five workers say they are likely to switch to a new employer in the next 12 months.

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Only 30% of respondents said they’re concerned about their role being replaced by technology in the next three years. Meanwhile, 39% said they’re concerned about not getting sufficient training in digital and technology skills from their employer. That proportion is even higher among younger respondents, the survey says.

Key findings:

  • One in five say they are likely to switch to a new employer in the next 12 months
  • More than a third plan to ask for a raise, but finding fulfilment at work is just as important
  • Skilled employees most likely to ask for promotions and pay raises and to feel listened to by their manager, while those lacking skills lack power in the workplace
  • By a margin of more than 30 points, respondents felt discussing social issues at work has had positive rather than negative impacts on them
  • But, only 30% state their companies provide support to work effectively with people who share different views

Remote versus office work:

  • 45% of respondents said their job could not be done remotely
  • Of those who say their job can be done remotely:
    •  63% say they prefer some mix of in-person and remote working – the same proportion who said they expect their employer to offer that mix for at least the next 12 months
    • 26% of employees would prefer full-time remote work, but only 18% say their employers are likely to adopt that model.
    • Another 18% say that their employers are likely to require full-time in-person work, which just 11% of employees prefer.

While an increase in pay is a main motivator for making a job change (71%), wanting a fulfilling job (69%) and wanting to truly be themselves at work (66%) round out the top 3 things workers are looking for. Nearly half (47%) prioritised being able to choose where they work.

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The survey found that 65% of workers discuss social and political issues with colleagues frequently or sometimes, with the number higher for younger workers (69%) and ethnic minorities (73%).

“While business leaders are sometimes nervous about people bringing these potentially polarising issues to work, the impact is net positive. 79% of those who talk about social and political issues at work reported at least one positive consequence from that”, the survey says.

“With political and social issues in the workplace, the job for employers is to create a context which secures the benefits of open conversation while minimising the negative impacts – 41% reported a negative consequence of discussions about social issues. Both numbers were significantly higher for people who consider themselves part of an ethnic minority (84% positive and 59% negative).”

“These discussions are happening despite little active effort on the part of organisations to help secure positive outcomes. Only 30% of employees say that their company provides support to help them work effectively with people who share different views.”

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The survey showed that workers have particular interest in their employer’s impact on the economy, climate and society. Half of workers (53%) felt it was important that their employer is transparent about their impact on the environment, two-thirds (65%) felt transparency about health and safety was critical, with transparency about economic impact not far behind at 60%, followed by diversity and inclusion efforts at 54%.


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