Salary Sharing is the New Water Cooler Talk - SkillGigs
salary sharing
Advice for Management & Companies, Advice for Talent & Job Seekers

Salary Sharing is the New Water Cooler Talk

Discussing salary is something that many of us grew up considering taboo. But should it be? Today, a strong debate is occurring around pay transparency and building steam. Employees are sharing their salary amongst peers to end salary secrecy in the workplace. This direct approach to discussing salary is shedding light on pay unfairness across all industries and job roles. This debate, and in some cases the findings, is contributing to the Great Resignation. Could providing precise details and expectations around pay prevent talented employees from walking away from their jobs in record numbers? This article brings to light some of the key metrics and discussions currently surrounding the discussion of pay.   

In January, the Department of Labor reported 11.3 million job openings, 6.5 million hires, and 6.1 million separations as per their latest job openings and labor turnover survey. What does this mean for the job seeker? The ball is in the job seeker’s court. Simply put, there are more open jobs than there are people looking. People are voluntarily quitting and demanding better pay for their next job. Proving employees have a newfound confidence and seek a new opportunity that recognizes the value they could bring and compensate them as such. This stand applies pressure on companies to change their culture to a more transparent one during the hiring process and as promotions arise within the company.  

Is Pay Transparency the Answer to Pay Discrimination? 

According to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employees have the right to discuss wages with other employees through face-to-face conversations and written forms. Your employer may prohibit the use of electronic communication. Still, your employer may not legally enforce policies against salary sharing discussions. This means — gone are the days when salary discussions in the workplace were perceived as inappropriate or even taboo. Knowing this fact empowers employees to advocate for their salary expectations and be part of the workplace change they want to see. Employers alike benefit from open pay policies. In being more proactive in showing salary expectations employers will improve productivity, diversity and workplace cohesion to support recruiting efforts.  

Pay discrimination is real for many people, particularly women. Women have realized they are not getting paid the same as their male counterparts, while performing the same job responsibilities. From the 1970s to the 1980s, the term “glass ceiling” was used to describe women in the workforce. The glass ceiling effect was an invisible barrier that prevented women and minorities from moving up the corporate ladder. During childbearing years, women were perceived as less motivated and not as invested in the company as their male peers. Unfortunately for women, this enabled men to take most, if not all, the management positions. Sidelining women for starting a family continues to take place today. The difference now is that this new generation values transparency and is ready to have hard conversations.  

For example, Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, realized that it was time to prioritize pay fairness for women. As hard as it was to confront the pay inequality in his company, he began to examine pay for all 16,000 employees methodically. This led to giving some women raises but knew it would take years to rectify and close the pay gap.  

Pay Transparency Establishes Trust

Could having these salary sharing discussions end workplace stress? What we do know is that employee trust is important. If an employee feels valued, they will most likely be engaged. In truth, an employee that has had an open discussion around pay feels comfortable and enthusiastic enough to stay and potentially seek career advancement within the company. Employee retention becomes easier to achieve and employee turnover rates improve. 

Suppose the topic of pay transparency is not being led by company leadership or brought up in the interview process. In that case, employees and job seekers are proactively researching market pay rates independently. No one wants to be underpaid and underappreciated. Once employees are made aware that they are underpaid compared to other employees, their dissatisfaction leads to unhappiness and ultimately quitting.  

How do you handle salary sharing discussions?  

Pay transparency provides a better way of assessing pay fairness and undoubtedly boosts the company’s overall morale and performance. Employees have proven to do their best work when they feel appreciated, seen, and compensated. According to a Glassdoor survey, 63 percent of employees prefer to work at a company that discloses pay information versus one that does not. However, only 19 percent of employees said their companies disclose pay rates internally. Although that may sound discouraging, actively discussing pay during the hiring process and later, with potential promotions, companies will seamlessly adopt a more open approach to the “money talk.”   

Both employers and employees must ensure the dialogue is open and respectful when addressing pay rates. Storming the HR department demanding fair pay because you found out your peer has a higher salary most likely won’t get you a bump in salary. However, get informed and find out what the base salary in your state is for your position and what qualifications you must have to get the maximum compensation. If you have been underpaid, the responsibility then falls on your employer to remedy the inequities that have affected you and possibly others.  

While employees are having discussions with the HR manager, job seekers are sharing their salary expectations to ensure they don’t get lowball salary offers. Due to the pay expectations being shared early on, both parties can walk away or start negotiating a wage that keeps both satisfied. Some states by law must provide pay ranges in their job postings with many other states adopting this law in the coming months.  

Keep the discussions going, change is happening 

Remember that you won’t see a genuine change in the workplace overnight. Leadership must be ready and willing to proactively bridge the pay gap that will end culture of secrecy. How can one aid in this? When appropriate, continue sharing salary disparities with your peers. Research the job market for specific roles and salaries to have a better-informed conversation with the right people. It’s not about getting your way, it’s about understanding your role and what you bring to the table to be compensated fairly for it.  

SkillGigs Role in the Pay Transparency Discussion 

SkillGigs stands for fairness in the workplace and works tirelessly to match the right people to the right jobs. Our talent marketplace empowers both employers and employees to display the salary they are either seeking or willing to pay. This allows for a more transparent conversation and ensures the perfect match is made from the start. The key to this is our e-commerce style, talent marketplace bidding system.  

Talent can post a skill listing just like you would if you were using eBay to sell a product. When you post your skill listing, you alert employers in our marketplace that you are available for work on a full-time or contract basis. By doing this, you open yourself up to market bidding, which creates a pipeline of possible employer suitors for you.  

Bids are a gateway for employers to communicate with you directly about hourly and/or salary rates calculated by our bidding technology. This exchange stays confidential between employers and the talent.  

We recommend that you sign up today and experience it for yourself. Get to claiming and sending bids!