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Show me the money: 22% of Aussie workers hoping for a pay rise

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Australian workers are looking to their employers for some relief amid a cost of living crisis, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder nationally representative survey of 632 Australian workers found 1 in 5 (22%) are hoping for a pay rise in the next 3 months.

This includes 13% who say they are in the process of trying to negotiate their pay, and 9% who want a raise but are afraid to ask.

The research shows 1 in 6 workers (17%) negotiated a higher salary over the past 3 months – 9% have talked their employer into raising their pay, while 8% earned a pay bump by switching jobs.

Less than a third of businesses (30%) plan to increase employee wages in the next 3 months according to ABS data – a figure that jumps to 49% for large businesses – while 8% plan to introduce new staff benefits.

Graham Cooke, head of consumer research at Finder, said the aftershocks of the pandemic continue to impact Australia's labour market.

"The lack of migrants and backpackers has severely dampened the number of workers, including in sectors like agriculture which traditionally rely on labour supply from overseas.

"We're also in the midst of a COVID surge as well as the worst flu season in years, which means at any one time a large portion of a company's employees are off sick," Cooke said.

ABS data shows the industries most likely to increase staff wages over the next 3 months are administrative and support services (59%), accommodation and food services (42%), and information media and telecommunications services (40%).

At the other end of the spectrum, those working in electricity, gas, water and waste services (15%), health care and social assistance (20%), and construction (22%) are the least likely to receive a pay bump.

Finder's research reveals male employees (19%) are more likely than their female counterparts (14%) to have negotiated a higher salary within the past 3 months.

Cooke said the demand for higher wages is another reason companies are struggling to fill roles.

"Many Australians are praying for a pay bump to ease cost of living pressures.

"If you think you deserve more money but your employer won't budge, it can't hurt to see what other roles are out there – just don't sacrifice your long-term career goals for a short-term pay rise."

More than half of generation Z workers (58%) have recently negotiated or are hoping for a pay rise, compared to 47% of millennials and 25% of generation X.

Cooke said rather than making more and spending more, there are other ways to boost your cash flow.

"Go for low hanging fruit like eating out less, cancelling subscription services, a cheaper mobile phone plan and taking a break from online shopping.

"With interest rates crawling up, now is a good time to switch to a high-interest savings account.

Have you negotiated a higher salary within the past 3 months?
No, I haven't61%
I'm in the process of trying13%
I want to but I'm afraid to ask9%
Yes, with my existing employer9%
Yes, by switching jobs8%
Source: Finder nationally representative survey of 632 workers, June 2022
IndustryPercentage of businesses planning to increase wages in the next 3 months
Administrative and Support Services59%
Other Services*45%
Accommodation and Food Services42%
Information Media and Telecommunications40%
Transport, Postal and Warehousing36%
Financial and Insurance Services32%
Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services32%
Wholesale Trade29%
Retail Trade26%
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services26%
Education and Training26%
Arts and Recreation Services25%
Health Care and Social Assistance20%
Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services15%
Source: ABS, Business Conditions and Sentiments, June 2022
* 'Other services' includes repair and maintenance (e.g. automotive, machinery, clothing), personal services (e.g. beauty services, funeral services, laundry services), and private household staff.

Whether you get a pay rise or not, there are things you can do to make your money work harder. You can open a high interest savings account, or start investing in index funds.

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