Jim over at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity asked us all what we thought of salary transparency. I don’t know about you, but there’s always something intriguing about my coworkers salaries. Are they making more than I am? Am I making more? How much do they take out for retirement? But alas, that is not for me to know. We have no salary transparency. And that’s probably a good thing.
Salary transparency can remove many of the problems that people have by letting them know exactly where they stand. It can give people a clue as to how well they negotiated their salary and their last raise. It can lend a hint towards seniority. And it can expose any bits of favoritism.
One of the best examples of salary transparency would be any jobs where the workers are union-ized. As part of their contract negotiations, all unions negotiate the pay of their members. As such, they generally end up with a very structured pay scale. Also, as such, you can usually know a persons salary within dollars of the actual salary. There is very little differentiation between the workers. Only through tenure (and strikes) can you income really rise.
Unions have transparency because it’s in their contracts, and since those are pretty much public to the employees, the salary structure is fairly public. In any other case, it is my belief that salary transparency is bad. It may cut down on nosy people, but it could lead to a great deal of salary jealousy. Even if they all know why Bob is making more than they are. Despite all the normal arguments against salary transparency, the most compelling is that it isn’t my coworkers business what I make. If I successfully negotiated a better salary than the guy in the cubicle next to me, or got a better raise, that’s between me and my employer. If my employer thinks that I’m worth what I make, that’s my business.
Plain and simple, my wage is exactly that. Mine. That thought is one of the reasons that I haven’t and have no plans to publish my salary here. It’s also the reason that I made the decision not to publish any detailed financial details such as a monthly balance sheet or net worth here.
What are your thoughts on it? Let me and Jim know!