Pay rise expectations skyrocket as workers grapple with the cost of living

24 April, 2023

  • New People at Work report from ADP® Research Institute shows more than four in 10 think they’re underpaid for their job
  • Report also shows that 62% received a pay rise last year – with rises averaging 6.4% of salary
  • In India, 90% of workers expect a pay rise this year, and on average, they are anticipating an increase of 4-6%.

India – April 24, 2023: Workers’ expectations around the pay rises in the coming year have skyrocketed, reveals the ADP® Research Institute’s People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View. More than eight in 10 workers (83%) are anticipating getting a salary increase in the next 12 months, either from their existing employer or by moving job, according to the survey of over 32,000 workers in 17 countries.

On average, they expect an uplift of 8.3%. However, just over a third of workers (34%) are expecting to get pay rises of 10% or more and one in 10 (10%) expect more than 15%. The report explores employees’ attitudes towards the current world of work and what they expect and hope for from the workplace of the future.

Across the industries, professional services workers and those in the IT/telecommunications sectors have the highest pay rises in their sights next year (at 8.7% on average), while leisure and hospitality staff anticipate the lowest (7.6% on average).

In India, 90% of workers expect a pay rise this year. On average, close to 20% of the workers surveyed are anticipating an increase of 4-6%, closely followed by 19 % expecting a 10-12 % increase.

The findings come amid the ongoing cost of living crisis and as workers in many countries demonstrate a willingness to take industrial action in order to force their employers to be more generous on pay and conditions. More than four in 10 workers (44%) believe they’re underpaid for their job.

Demands for higher pay come after around six in 10 workers (62%) were given a pay rise last year. Those pay rises averaged 6.4%. Given that the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) global inflation forecast for 2022 was 8.8%,[1] this equates to a real-terms pay cut.

In India, 78% of workers received a pay rise last year, and increases averaged 4-6%. This year, even if there is an absence of salary hike, a substantial 65% of employees express a desire for some form of merit bonus, paid holidays, or travel compensation.

Rahul Goyal, Managing Director of ADP India, comments: “Getting a pay rise has become increasingly important, particularly for those in lower- and middle-income brackets. With the rising cost of living, disposable incomes have been affected, and even higher earners are feeling the pressure. People are struggling to afford essentials and are unable to indulge in luxuries due to the financial constraints caused by increasing interest rates, higher rents, and food costs. Though inflation may have reached its peak, it appears that it will take a while for it to return to more manageable levels.”

“Employers have a difficult task weighing up the clamour for higher pay against their own challenges around rising costs and tightening profit margins. Workers are confident that they will get a pay rise from their current company – but if not, there’s a strong sense that they’ll be able to secure one by moving jobs. The implications for talent acquisition and retention are huge.”

“As the recent spate of strikes in many countries across multiple industries has shown, many workers feel enough is enough. They are willing to take increasingly drastic steps by staging walk-outs to ensure they get their point across and force a suitable settlement.”

“Employers who aren’t in a financial position to offer decent pay rises may have to think creatively about how to appease staff in other ways such as via offering greater flexibility or other benefits.”


For more insights, please read the ‘People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View’ report

About the research

People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View explores employees’ attitudes towards the current world of work and what they expect and hope for from the workplace of the future.

ADP Research Institute® surveyed 32,612 workers in 17 countries around the world between 28 October and 18 November 2022 including over 8,613 working exclusively in the gig economy. This included:

  • 7,721 in Asia Pacific (Australia, China, India and Singapore)
  • 15,290 in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK)
  • 5,751 in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil and Chile)
  • 3,850 in North America (USA and Canada).

Within the worker sample gig workers and traditional workers were identified. Gig workers were identified as those who work on a contingent, temporary, or seasonal basis, or as a freelancer, independent contractor, consultant, gig worker, or use an online platform to source work. Traditional employees were identified as those who are not working in the gig economy and instead have a permanent full or part-time position.

The survey was conducted online in the local language. Overall results are weighted to represent the size of the working population for each country. Weightings are based on labour force data from the World Bank, [2] which is derived using data from the ILOSTAT database, the central statistics database of the International Labour Organization (ILO), as of February 8, 2022.


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Media Contacts:

Sheetal Ahuja

[1] Source: International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Report, October 2022

[2] Source: The World Bank, Labor force, total, World Development Indicators database, February 8 2022