Should you share your salary with coworkers?

Telling coworkers how much money you make has long been considered taboo, and is sometimes even banned by HR departments from holding such salary discussions on a strictly “need to know” basis .

But amid a renewed emphasis on pay equity in the workplace, which includes gender closures and racial pay gapAccording to experts, ideas about what we should know about the salaries of our colleagues are changing in a way that can benefit employees and employers alike.

“Payment transparency is the future. There’s no way around it,” said David Turetsky, compensation expert at “Some states are also codifying that when a job is posted, the salary range for that job is listed as well.”

For workers, knowing what someone in a similar position earns can uncover wage inequalities within the organization, although without recourse or guarantees of growth. But at least awareness of such discrepancies can encourage lower payments. workers to ask for a pay increaseSupporters of pay transparency say

Conversely, skeptics argue, it can also lead to jealousy, awkwardness, and resentment.

“never a good idea”

There are two general schools of thought on this issue. On the one hand, some salary and career experts say it’s a bad idea for individuals to ask coworkers what they earn.

“It’s never a good idea to turn to a coworker and ask what they’re making,” Turetsky said. “There’s no upside.”

One concern is that such informal interactions may result in people knowing less, not more, about the presiding pay scales of the company.

“Your colleague may lie to you and gamble you to see what you are making up,” he said. “They may not show all of their cards. Or you may find that they earn a bonus and you don’t.”

Instead, Turetsky believes that all negotiations surrounding compensation should be funneled through a manager or human resources department.

“These are business decisions that have to do with you as an employee in that job. Whether it’s more or less than someone else is based on the deal you start with your employer,” he said.

A benchmark for what you’re worth

In fact, today’s labor market looks very different from before the pandemic, workers quit their jobs record rates during the so-called great resignation, and employers now have to pay high salary or offer other temptations As they vie for talent.

“In this time of ‘great resignation,’ there is wage inflation and too many companies are on board,” said Brian Bloom, Korn Ferry’s vice president of global benefits for human resources. “Someone who’s been in their job for a while might get a 3%-4% growth every year, and someone who’s just coming in might get double that. That’s where you can get in a volatile labor market. run into problems – be transparent where it’s hard and achieve equality when we have this labor shortage and competition for talent.”

But if a company has a well-established compensation structure with salary ranges tied to the level of the job, Bloom favors workers over what others make.

“For organizations that have a very mature compensation structure with very clear pay bands, job grades and transparency on career progression, I think it is a good idea to ask,” he said.

Armed with that knowledge, you can approach your manager and ask why you’re lagging behind peers or, more generally, discuss what’s behind a seeming pay gap.

“For individuals, the pro of asking is a benchmark that you think you should pay – it is a data point,” said Joanna Kim-Brunetti, chief legal officer of Trusik, a software company that helps firms conduct parity audits. helps in

Opacity increases inequality

Some experts say it’s up to employers to be as open as possible about salary ranges and how they compensate workers from the get-go.

“I think it’s a thorny issue at the individual level, but it matters a lot at the employer level and it will drive equity because opacity only increases inequality,” Kim-Brunetti said. “If you have a set salary range, it makes personal disclosure less important.”

For example, if an employee is employed as an assistant and the salary range for that position is $60,000 to $70,000, they will be less curious about how much money other assistants make.

In any event, employers should be prepared to defend their compensation structures, given that pay transparency is the way of the future.

“It’s coming and they should get over it. If people find out they’re on the receiving end of pay inequality, they’re going to get angry,” said Jeff Moriarty, professor of business ethics at Massachusetts Bentley University.

US Inflation Choking Wage Increases


Meanwhile, having more workers openly sharing their wages will encourage companies to ensure their compensation methods are fair.

“If employers know that employees can talk among themselves about what they are being paid, then the employer will take steps to ensure that they do not receive any pay disparity,” Moriarty said.

How about in a job interview?

Experts say the time has also come to do away with the old norm of not discussing money during the job interview process. Holding multiple meetings when the top end of a position’s salary range is far below what the candidate is willing to accept, says Katherine Minshaw, founder and CEO of The Muse, a careers website that helps job seekers and employers alike. It’s a waste of time.

“It’s very helpful for candidates to ask and for employers to share that information beforehand. If there’s a big mismatch, the sooner you know, the better for both parties,” he said.

To ensure that workers are paid fairly based on their status, level and experience, and to avoid discrepancies among workers of different sexes, races and ethnicities, the museum conducts a companywide annual wage audit.

“We want to make sure that collectively we are honoring our commitment to pay equity in all the wages we pay,” she said.

Added’s Turetsky about the shift in the working world toward greater transparency.

“You have to either embrace it or deal with the consequences of not adopting it. There are no two ways about it,” he said.

This means taking into account the salary range for a candidate and giving them that figure even if they ask for less money. In other words, when companies fully disclose their compensation structures, they cannot bring in new employees at a discount.

“No deal. Hiring someone can’t get you a great deal,” he said.

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