Off Topic: Posting Salaries at the Workplace

I ran across this article this morning. Very interesting question: would you want to know you’re co-worker’s salary? Should salaries be posted for everybody to see? What would you do if you learned that you were being paid all these years – less money than your male co-workers? I would be outraged and hurt to see my salary was low on the scale compared to the men’s salaries. It’s also humiliating.

Thankfully, in my business, we are allegedly paid the same wage for staff and managers alike. Financial expert, Suz Orman, says salaries should be posted: stack-of-cash

“I think salaries should be posted,” Orman said. “Every salary. From the highest down to the lowest. Because then somebody knows what they’re worth.”

Finding out that someone doing the same job is making more money can be catastrophic for office morale. But Orman says it’s the employer who benefits from salary secrecy.

“They can pay you a lot less and pay somebody else a lot more if nobody knows who’s getting paid what,” she said.

Orman, whose latest book “2009 Action Plan” tops the New York Times’ Bestseller’s list, says that for generations, keeping salaries secret has made it easier for corporations to protect their bottom line and to discriminate, particularly against women.

Makes sense to me but I just don’t see that happening anytime soon.

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4 Responses to Off Topic: Posting Salaries at the Workplace

  1. Janicu says:

    I know that they do post salaries in law firms. It’s public record and so when you get hired, there’s no negotiating – it’s a set amount. If I want, I can find out how much my friend the lawyer gets paid because I can look it up online. Lawyers get paid A LOT though. If the rest of us had our salaries shown, there may be more disgruntled noises when people realize they’re being paid less than others. As a woman in a male dominated workplace, I suspect I’m being paid less, but I really don’t know. I kind of wish things were posted – if the cards are on the table, employers can’t continue to secretly discriminate. On the other hand – wow it sucks to realize that you’ve been discriminated against doesn’t it? And then there’s the whole – well if we’re all being paid the same, what’s the incentive to work harder.. competiting for raises and bonuses might become more complicated. I don’t know how law firms do it, maybe they should be used as the template to work with.

  2. Avid Reader says:

    I had no idea that law firms posted salaries. Good know. It is different for me working in healthcare. There’s a set rate for everybody. But discussing salary is a touchy and taboo topic. It’s ingrained in me never to discuss it. Used to be if you discussed salary you were fired for it.

  3. Jennygirl says:

    I think it depends on the field. Although in my office (auditing), some people would be extremely upset if salaries were posted. My office is very petty anyway, like who brings what for potluck. So could you imagine if salaries were known?

  4. Rosie says:

    I’m a public employee because I work for a fire department. As such there is a pay schedule that lists every position and the pay scale steps A-K for each position. While you may not know each person’s exact step you know their range. Trust me, that’s enough. It also works in positive ways.

    When I decided I wanted to work somewhere where the cry of the day wasn’t always about the bottom line, I took an entry level clerical job with the fire department. Everyone knew what I was making. Within months several people were pleased with the skills I had and advocated for me to be promoted into a different classification so I could receive a salary more in line with the work I was doing. Pretty cool and I got the reclassification/promotion.

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