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Build Your Career Office Life

The Intimidating Request Employees Dread Most

The Intimidating Request Employees Dread Most
Credit: ra2studio/Shutterstock

Few things strike fear in the hearts of workers like the prospect of having to ask their employers for more money, new research finds.

While nearly 90 percent of employees say they believe they deserve a raise, just over half plan to actually ask for one this year, according to a new study from the staffing firm Robert Half.

There is a host of not-so-pleasant activities that workers would rather do than negotiate for a pay increase. Specifically, 32 percent of employees would rather clean their houses, 13 percent would prefer to look for a new job, 7 percent would choose to have a root canal and 6 percent would rather be audited by the Internal Revenue Service.

While speaking in front of others used to be the task that had most employees running for the hills, talking about their paycheck has quickly overtaken that fear. The research shows that 66 percent of workers now feel comfortable speaking in public, compared to just 61 percent who feel the same about negotiating their salaries. [The Key Salary Negotiation Tactic That Works ]

Having self-confidence is critical when asking your employer for a pay bump, said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half.

"Self-confidence is the foundation of a successful career," McDonald said in a statement. "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 study revealed that men between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, with less than 10 years of professional experience and living in the western portion of the United States, are the most likely employees to ask for a raise.

When you do plan to negotiate for more money, it's critical to do some research first. If you don't know the average pay rate for workers with comparable skills in your city, it's hard to make a convincing argument for a higher salary, McDonald 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," McDonald said. "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."

The study revealed that if they do ask for a raise and are turned down, 24 percent will ask for something else, such as a new benefit or perk, while 19 percent plan to start looking for a new job.

The research was based on surveys of more than 1,000 U.S. workers employed full time in office environments.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.