Older workers are now least likely to ask for a salary bump

You might think that boomers, who have lived longer than Gen-Z and Millennial populations and generally have more work experience, would be the most confident in asking for a pay raise. A new survey, conducted by Indeed, revealed that they actually show the greatest hesitation.

This insight draws on research first conducted back in 2019 when 65% of workers between the age of 54 and 65 said that they felt comfortable, or somewhat comfortable, asking for a pay increase at their current job. That figure decreased to 51% in the latest findings — and the ambivalence applies to asking for promotions as well.

What causes job insecurity?

The economists behind the report suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic may have wounded confidence among older Americans more than any other group.

Remember that 2020 decimated the workforce and no one could predict when the economy would return to normal. As a result, 76% of respondents (out of 2,000 American adults total) ranked having a “secure, stable form of employment” as a top priority in 2021, 68% surveyed said they realized their current job was more important to them than they realized before the pandemic, and 67% described the pandemic as “a valuable learning experience in their career.”

“People are overwhelmingly looking for stability in both their personal and professional lives,” according to the authors of the new survey.

More signs of stress

Regardless of age, around one out of four expressed anxiety due to the pandemic. You are not alone. New findings include:

  • 27% said that their lives worsened throughout 2020.
  • 22% of respondents said that their mental health declined in 2020.

And yet, some workers say the pandemic benefited their careers

A small but significant portion of the population saw a silver lining during COVID-19:

  • 35% agreed that “more time with family” was the most meaningful change to their lives in 2020.
  • 25% said they saw “more opportunities to work from home.”
  • 23% noted a “greater work-life balance.”

A sizeable portion of the women surveyed said that they are more comfortable asking for flexible hours and work locations, and a less rigid schedule since the COVID-19 pandemic, though men were still more confident than women in these areas overall. Both experienced a decrease in confidence since the pandemic.

According to the authors, 74% of men and 58% of women say they feel comfortable or somewhat comfortable asking for a raise, whereas 81% of men and 66% of women said they felt that way before the pandemic.