Does not discussing salaries, only benefit employers?


Having kicked the traces with corporate reward strategies, I now operate a company where everybody knows the wages of the company. For good reason I am AgeWage’s lowest paid employee and I’m proud that we are able to talk about salaries in an open way,

Transparency being the best form of disinfectant , we have got used to seeing the reward packages of company’s senior managers published in corporate accounts.

Khaleesiana is  lucky to have a chance to discuss her wages with her colleagues. This should not be a privilege but sadly it is. Because most of us are not allowed to disclose our earnings to our colleagues. There is an assumption of fairness out there that’s like  ‘most favored nation’ status. If you confer most favored nation status on your reward strategy, you are implying that  no one has anything to  gain by comparing salaries. It is then easy to say that by comparing salaries you are de-stabilizing the trust in place.

And as soon as people feel disclosure could lead to a leveling down or even dismissal, non-diclosure is – as Klaleesiana says , of exclusive benefit to the boss

I do agree that there needs to be some flexibility within pay grades to pay more or less for what appears to be the same job. But is it really ever sensible to allow the gap between Khaleesiana and her colleague to develop?  Would such a gap have developed if disclosure of all salaries had been place? Would the publishing of grades and of who is in what grade be enough or do we need absolute disclosure?

The truth is we are terrified of litigation and in fear of own reward strategies. We consider the collusion between Khaleesiana and her colleague as against spoken or unspoken rules but in reality, once a gender pay gap issue is in the open, it can be resolved. Much worse is the lingering doubt engendered by the leaking of salary information over time which leads to a culture of distrust within a company.

As a start-up, we’ve started the way we mean to go on but I am no reward expert. I’d be interested in anyone’s thoughts on Khaleesiana’s behavior and what you think of her employer’s pay strategy.  Is there a point where a company has to impose non-disclosure of salaries on staff or is transparency on pay as important on the shop floor as in the boardroom?

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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