Younger Workers Shouldn’t Be the Only Ones Talking Money

SkillGigs would like to start this discussion by first saying, that you are as young as you want to be. That age really is a state of mind.

The following data, however, paints a picture of specific demographics that are capitalizing on a critical discussion — pay. And the technically “younger” workforce is open to discussing pay transparency to ensure fairness around salaries more often. According to a survey, 42 percent of Gen Z workers, ages 18-25, and 40 percent of millennial employees, ages 26-41, have shared their salary information with coworkers or other professional colleagues. While 31 percent of Gen Xers (ages 42-57) and 19 percent of baby boomers (ages 58-76) shared theirs. Therefore, it’s fair to say that the younger half of the working generation is more comfortable talking about “money” and advocating for change in the workplace. But should the willingness to be more open, honest, and transparent be a discussion available to all?  

Not only is this younger generation taking part in salary conversations with coworkers, but they are proactively researching the job market to see where they stand compared to others in the same role. Doing research is crucial to creating more structures and frameworks around pay and ultimately ending pay gaps that have affected women and minorities for quite some time.  

As uncomfortable and intimidating as having these hard conversations may be for folks, it is vital to join in the effort to reshape the workplace environment for the greater good.  

*For purposes of this article, we are making a split between young and old — purely based on data and not meaning to offend. Our use of “young” is attributed to working ages 18-41 (up to millennials) and “old” is attributed to working ages 42+ (Gen X and beyond).  

Older Workers May Fear to Change 

Younger workers believe the logic behind figuring salaries is not to start work drama but to understand how wages are determined internally — giving insight into the reasons why others have a higher salary than you. Differences in pay are not always an unfair situation. For example, your colleague may have specific skills and certifications that make up the salary difference. However, there are incidents when pay unfairness is present. It is in these situations that Gen Z and millennial workers are voicing concerns and demanding pay transparency. Whereas the older generations, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, more so, have been conditioned to let things be; in fear of losing their job if they speak up.  

With the Great Recession of 2007-2009, many American workers struggled to even keep a job when others were losing their jobs left and right. So, it was always better to have a job than to not have one. Unfortunately, during and in the aftermath employment opportunities, structures, and policies changed leaving some workers to be underpaid. The Great Recession also limited job opportunities, hindering the possibility of becoming homeowners due to the staggering student loan debt. Due to experiencing painful times, older workers now avoid the topic of pay today. The generational differences around salary sharing are such that traditionally, the older generations much rather keep those details concealed, while the younger generations are ready to break through hard barriers to see a change. 

Younger Workers Are Ready to Talk  

One thing is for sure; a generational shift is occurring. Young workers are breaking through barriers and advocating for pay transparency. Attitudes and behaviors towards pay disparities are beginning to be seen and heard as young workers are not settling for the same work expectations as their generational predecessors. It is evident when we see higher employee turnover rates than ever before. If pay inequities are not addressed and rectified, younger workers are not afraid to walk away. During the Great Recession, millennials in the workforce realized their salary growth was stagnant, so they decided the best way to get the most pay came from job-hopping. Going from job to job ensured salary was always secured. Today, we see Gen Zers entering the workforce after some of the older generations retire with a bigger outlook on what they want from their employer, exhibiting confidence that demands pay transparency at every stage of their career, from the interview and throughout their tenure.  

According to a recent study, “engagement builds loyalty and encourages employees to stay. So, with young people, once the reservation wage is met, the more intangible rewards are offered, the less likely they are to leave.” You’ve heard money talks, which couldn’t be more accurate in today’s workplace.  

Start Conversations to Start Actions  

It is imperative that everyone enjoys what they do and is paid fairly. Pay transparency laws allow employees to discuss pay with coworkers. These laws protect employees and may help ease any anxiety or uncomfortableness that talking about salary may cause. Keep in mind that the sooner you bring up conversations around pay, the better it is to catch any pay gaps. Take, for example, a woman who has started her full-time career. She would miss out on $417,400 throughout her 40-year career based on current disparities, according to a 2022 analysis from the National Women’s Law Center 

This is not a problem for younger workers to solve; this is a problem everyone should work towards fixing. Simply put, there is power in numbers. Both employers and employees benefit from pay transparency laws and open conversations about salary expectations. However, these open discussions should not start when employees start to question their salary. Employers can improve pay transparency initiatives by speaking to employees one-on-one to fully listen to concerns and agree on what action steps to take next. Taking small steps, such as hosting informational training sessions around pay, can significantly affect employee morale and satisfaction moving the needle in the right direction.  

Addressing pay disparities in the workplace will help retention and recruitment. As much as the older generation rather stay quiet about salary issues, it is crucial to be part of the change for the generations behind us. 

SkillGigs and Pay Transparency Go Hand-in-Hand 

With SkillGigs, rest assured that pay transparency will be at the forefront at the beginning of the interview process. Add your salary expectations to your profile before an interview is even set, and only then can employers bid on you, if salary expectations match. Our bidding technology is one of a kind, enabling pay transparency while also creating a pipeline of employment opportunities for you.  

SkillGigs understands the importance of an open and transparent interaction, which translates to a happier work environment and higher retention rates. You don’t have to be unhappy and underpaid. We are ready to connect you to the right jobs at the right pay! 

Sign up today and experience salary happiness like never before!

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