New research finds that male employees are twice as likely to ask for a pay rise in comparison to female colleagues. 

Data released by Cendex, part of XpertHR, has revealed that almost a quarter of male employees (23 per cent) are likely to ask for a pay rise each year.

This contrasts against only one in 10 women (11 per cent) who do the same, showing the potential for an increase in the gender pay gap.

This also rings true despite the level of seniority the employees hold with entry level male employees (10 per cent) being more than twice as likely as a female C-suite (4 per cent) to ask for a pay review. 

Overall, almost of HR professionals (47 per cent) report employees asking for a pay review on an annual basis compared to under one in 10 (7.8 per cent) asking for one every six months.

This comes at a time where pay awards have stabilised at around 2 per cent, rising from the same period last year. Pay freezes have also become less common compared to 2020 where pay freezes accounted for more than half (51 per cent) of the total sample of pay settlements.

The research warns that reward benchmarking should not be overlooked at a time where many organisations are struggling to recruit and retain employees.

However, many companies have delayed reporting on pay figures in light of the suspension of gender pay gap reporting which has now been pushed to October.

Research analysing gender pay gap data found that the number of firms reporting these statistics fell to 2,440 in 2020, falling from 6,150 employers in 2019.

Scott Walker, Managing Director at Cendex comments: 

During the pandemic, some organisations put a hold on their gender pay gap reporting. While such a move may have been necessary during a challenging time, it’s essential that awareness of, and action against, pay inequality does not stop. 

With such a disbalance in pay rise requests, it’s vital that HR workers benchmark roles and understand the gaps in their payrolls.

It’s concerning to see that women are still holding back from negotiating a salary review but it’s clear employers can do more to empower women in scenarios involving pay negotiation. 

*Survey conducted by Censuswide in April 2021, surveying 254 Directors, senior managers and middle managers who contribute to the decision making process in HR in companies of 250+ employees across the UK.  





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.