Have you heard the new tread in career-ology? Lisa Belkin of the New York Times recently wrote about it. It’s called “salary transparency,” and the point is that everyone in an organization will know what everyone else in the organization earns. The thought is, if everyone is paid what he or she is worth, there is no need for workers to be secretive about salaries. A key point for job seekers, true transparency will offer more than one leg up when it comes to negotiating compensation.
Some workers have always had salary transparency. Government workers’ salaries are public, as are many non-profit employee salaries.
The JobBoard reminds us that there are a variety of tools to help workers learn what their jobs are “worth,” such as Salary.com and “next-generation competitors like PayScale, GlassDoor and SalaryScout, [who] are taking things even further.”
Portfolio.com notes that actual salary transparency raises “prickly privacy issues and lets rivals poach more easily (they know what to offer to snag desirable employees).”
However, the site also notes benefits of salary transparency:
- A fair compensation system based on actual performance.
- Employee understanding of the business (e.g., why payroll is usually the largest cost; why certain employees earn more).
- A culture of trust, as employees and senior managers share more information.
- Pay would not be a primary weapon in the fight for talent.
- Organizations could create a more collegial, open system with some salary transparency.
- Companies would be able to create a rigorous performance-based pay system.
So, what do you think? Is it a good idea for everyone to know what everyone else earns? Would it encourage fairness in compensation? Or is it a train wreck?
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photo by Tony Ciranjiiva