Why Co-workers Should Talk About Salary, No Matter What The Boss Says

Sharing salary info among co-workers isn’t illegal, but most companies and bosses tend to discourage this to avoid workplace tension.

But aren’t you curious about how much your co-workers make? You probably won’t find out how much your boss makes, but sharing salary info among colleagues is so much easier.

Although this practice has been in place for years thanks to capitalism, it also allows for pay discrimination. Plus, if you find out that your co-worker with the same qualifications in the same position is getting paid higher than you, won’t this lead to workplace tension anyway? Here is why co-workers need to share our salaries, and how you can do so without the awkwardness.

You could be underpaid – and you wouldn’t know it

One of the bad things about not sharing your salaries with each other is that it could possibly hold you back from getting paid what you deserve. You and your co-workers, of course. By sharing your salaries, you’d know the average amount everyone earns based on their position. If you find out that you’re underpaid, don’t be afraid to voice it out to your boss.

“If you have transparency, people are more likely to be paid what they’re worth,” explained Denise Rousseau, professor of organizational behaviour and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

“If you have transparency, people are more likely to be paid what they’re worth.”

And if your boss is unwilling to give you a raise, you can quit, with the knowledge that you know the market rate for your years of experience, working industry, and education level. It’s a way to ensure that you’re compensated fairly for your qualifications and your work.

Be ready to share info about your own salary first

Photo from NST

Your colleagues are probably curious about how much you earn too, don’t be surprised. So you may have to be prepared to share your own salary first, before asking about the others. Meanwhile, heed any policies that the company may have about sharing salary – check if it’s in your contract. It’s not illegal but if you get caught, you may get a slap on the wrist.

Reach out to a colleague whom you trust

He or she’s probably more of a ‘work friend’ than a colleague to you, so it’ll probably be easier to reach out to her for a salary-focused discussion. According to Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster, you can reach out to them and begin with, “I think it’s important to know what we’re worth, and I’m doing some research. If I tell you what I’m earning, will you tell me what you’re earning?”

“Employers need to be fair not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because employees can walk at any time and find a better paying job elsewhere.” – Vicki Salemi

When you’ve got the information, you’re better off taking the information to the HR Manager of a better job than attempt to negotiate a better salary at your current company, unless of course, you’re able to get a promotion internally.

In other reports, Kuala Lumpur ranks lowest for work-life balance (behind Tokyo!)

Source: Kisi

KL ranked 40 out of 40 cities in a survey about work-life balance by US-based mobile tech company Kisi. While Tokyo is perceived to be the hardest-working city, they were at least one step ahead of us.

Helsinki, Munich, and Oslo were the top 3 cities to for work-life balance (so now you know where to go). CEO of Kisi, Bernhard Mehl had a few words to say about the survey’s results:

“When you see these figures, it makes so much sense not just for individuals but also for the companies that employ them to ensure that their employees’ needs are met. The end result is not just a happier, healthier workforce, but in the long-term, a more economically viable one.”

He added, “Whether it’s the long hours, unrealistic expectations from bosses or job insecurity, workplace stress has proven to affect our physical and mental health.”

What do you think – would you share salary information with your co-workers?