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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


It used to be that public speaking was the quickest way to ramp up anxiety, but that isn’t the case anymore. It’s a one-on-one conversation that makes workers feel even less sure of themselves: Asking the boss for a raise. 

According to the recent Confidence Matters study from Robert Half, slightly fewer than half 49 per cent feel confident when asking for a pay raise, compared to 57 per cent who feel self-assured when public speaking. By the way, respondents also noted they would rather clean their house, look for a new job, get a root canal or be audited than ask for a raise.

The fact is, being uncomfortable about talking about money can be costly over the long term. According to Paul McDonald, a senior executive director at Robert Half, “people who are hesitant to talk about compensation may reduce their earning power – not just in their current role, but also with future employers."

Do your homework and stay current salary levels. If you find you are underpaid you need to address this but go into the meeting prepared. 

Being prepared means highlighting your skills and accomplishments, being clear on what the industry would pay and compare that to your current position and accountabilities. Keep in mind, you might not get what you think you deserve. In some cases, you have to be prepared to leave. Knowledge is power, but before making any ultimatums or threatening comments on leaving, be clear on your company’s stability and comfortable about your job prospects.

Jeff Hull, senior financial advisor at Manulife Securities Inc, told BNN that the "cream always rises to the top." He said when it comes to anxiety around asking for a raise, the answer will always be 'no' if you don't ask in the first place. 

Sometimes you have to get off your own coattail and the only person holding you back is you.  Your fear of asking for a raise may be trumping the reality of getting one. Asking for a salary increase could result in a “yes” and having the tough conversation can open up a lasting dialogue around goals, objectives and performance expectations. The ultimate win/win.