Pay Transparency Is Trending; Should Coworkers Know What You Make?

Employers are starting to test the water with pay transparency, and it could mean your salary will be listed for anyone at your company to view.

As a recent Bloomberg article points out, a few mid-size companies are experimenting with an open forum where salaries are posted. Last week, the 170 staffers at marketing agency Verve were able to see salaries company-wide. CareHealth, a Nashville-based healthcare company, is set to do the same for its 1,100 workers by next year.

The reasoning is sound. Pay transparency helps to ease tensions for staff who may think they’re underpaid or undervalued. And instead of letting employees stew in their frustration, an open forum to see what others make could salve perceived wounds.

It also shines a light on pay disparity. A recent Hired study (side note: Hired also participates in pay transparency) suggests salaries of women in tech decrease as they age. Entry-level women earn 98 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts; women with 13 years experience earn 92 cents, comparatively.

For companies, transparnecy can dispel myths around pay for a particular position. Today, much salary data is self-reported, and may be exaggerated. Potential hires might think they’re worth $120,000 per year, which is incongruous with what companies may actually pay. Glassdoor or similar sites rely on people reporting their earnings, which may elicit vanity responses. (Dice’s Salary Calculator is a more granular way of discovering your worth; it’s helpful for knowing what a new skill might add to your salary expectations.)

Pay transparency has a ton of value for employees and companies. Keeping everything above-board keeps you from wondering if someone doing less work than you is getting paid more than you (spoiler alert: they are!).

The downside is how a particular company will report data. If it’s reporting anonymized earnings and roles, that’s a bit less awkward than a name attached to a salary for all to see. CareHelp is doing just that: Employees see salary ranges for positions, and an explanation on how those numbers relate to the local job market for the role.

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2 Responses to “Pay Transparency Is Trending; Should Coworkers Know What You Make?”

    • JeramieH

      I’ve worked in public higher education my entire career, where all salaries are public knowledge (and in fact, searchable in an online database owned by a local newspaper because they freedom-of-information-act them every year). This article is spot-on, it’s not awkward unless people make it awkward. I’ve never known anyone in my sector who had an issue with it, but you know that coming into it.