to think that 'Don't discuss your salary' just ends up causing more resentment?

(84 Posts)
workingdilemma Mon 18-May-15 22:03:42

Inspired by my other question thread about part-time work and feeling I'm not getting treated the same.

Lot's of us are told in our jobs that we shouldn't discuss our salaries with co-workers, with the justification that it will just cause resentment. Many people I know who aren't in managerial positions agree. As far as I can tell though, the only person this really ends up benefiting is our employer.

I couldn't care less if someone at my place is genuinely deserving of more money than I am - good luck to them and they deserve it. But, when you have justifiable suspicion that you're being treated differently for doing a better job - indeed, helping less senior people who are probablyon more than you, it's really disheartening. The only evidence is on the external market, but it would be so much easier (and help staff retention) if we were more honest.

AIBU to think that openness (like in Norway, where you can find out about anyone's) would actually be a lot more refreshing and cause a lot less problems?

textfan Mon 18-May-15 22:05:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RainbowFlutterby Mon 18-May-15 22:07:39

But who decides the criteria for "deserving"? What one person thinks is "going above and beyond expectations" some else might think that it's "just their job".

AyeAmarok Mon 18-May-15 22:09:35

I agree, in my experience, employers who make it illegal that you're forbidden to talk about pay are the ones who are behaving illegally have something to hide.

I do wish everything was more open.

Would help get rid of Jobs For The Boys, I think.

AyeAmarok Mon 18-May-15 22:09:36

I agree, in my experience, employers who make it illegal that you're forbidden to talk about pay are the ones who are behaving illegally have something to hide.

I do wish everything was more open.

Would help get rid of Jobs For The Boys, I think.

MoreBeta Mon 18-May-15 22:11:28

In my view, a legal requirement to disclose all salaries, bonus and emoluments of every employee would massively reduce discrimination.

Pay secrecy is the single biggest factor that perpetuates and supports discrimination in the workplace. Only employers benefit from pay secrecy.

NoNameDame Mon 18-May-15 22:11:37

Whilst you may think it won't be a problem not everyone will be as genuinely understanding and accepting as you. You probably have rose tinted spectacles on as it is very hard to admit to your own flaws and see other peoples strengths 100% of the time. I would find it very hard to admit colleagues I don't like deserve more pay than I do.

I genuinely think it would cause problems and why risk that. It is also possible that you can negotiate you pay based on your own merit not by comparing yourself to others. If you do need to compare yourself to others you can do but to people from other organisations.

MaidOfStars Mon 18-May-15 22:12:31

Yep, I'm for openness about salaries. If someone's getting paid more than you, the reasons need to be clear (as part of a company policy document, whatever).

MaidOfStars Mon 18-May-15 22:14:16

I would find it very hard to admit colleagues I don't like deserve more pay than I do

Even if they have achieved clearly set criteria for higher level pay. Why are your feelings about it relevant?

0x530x610x750x630x79 Mon 18-May-15 22:14:17

everyone in the public sector copes knowing how much their colleges earn because of pay banding? if it is so corrosive an idea how does that work?

it just helps the bosses.

workingdilemma Mon 18-May-15 22:14:34

Well, quite RainbowFlutterby. But at least if you knew what the other person earned, there could be an honest discussion about why they are 'worth' more than you. That's fine.

But I'd argue is that in a lot of cases the real answer could be 'because they are men' or 'they asked for more at the start' or 'they tell a good joke at lunchtime.

In my case, I've been there a long while, and I know the skill set of my colleagues intricately. I know exactly who is good and bad at what. And so, when 25% of your day is helping someone to do their job who is in all likelihood, on more than you, you can't help but feel that you are more deserving!

NoNameDame Mon 18-May-15 22:15:27

I benefit from pay secrecy as I can negotiate what I'm worth without employers worrying they'll be held to ransom by other staff or a fuss will be picked up.

Although for me part of being good at my job is selling myself so negotiating pay is a skill I am expected to have, I suppose it's not the same in other industries and carers etc probably are unable to be in a position to get what they individually deserve.

I know this isn't about uniform/equal pay across the board but if it was I worry whether this would bring more people's wages up or hold more people down

RainbowFlutterby Mon 18-May-15 22:18:19

Hmm. Tbh DP would hate it if people knew how little he earns. He's on NMW and feels a bit of a failure sometimes (the rest of his family are high earners). People hide behind "don't discuss salary" for all sorts of reasons.

And yes, I'd hate to find I was the one earning less than others and having to hear that it's 'cause I'm not as good. Ouch!

NoNameDame Mon 18-May-15 22:18:56

It's not possible to set clear criteria in every industry, e.g engineers - they may have the same qualifications, look after a job with the same budget but you can have 2 engineers that do the same thing where 1 is good and 1 is crap (I.e pisses people off, nearly causes issues, nearly doesn't spot costly mistakes etc) it's hard to put into words why those 2 people aren't worth the same but I have experience of a lot of examples of this.

NoNameDame Mon 18-May-15 22:22:37

Maybe the average male wage within an organisation compared to the average female wage would be a good measure.

I imagine the females would be lower, but if pay was equalled out (although allowing for some unequal-ness based on who was best at their job regardless of gender) and more females got more senior positions it should level out.

MaidOfStars Mon 18-May-15 22:23:01

If engineer 2 doesn't actually cause issues and actually spots potential costly mistakes in time, what's the problem? Sure, if s/he is an arse, they might lose jobs or be passed over for promotion, but on that job, I can't see justification for a pay discrepancy.

AyeAmarok Mon 18-May-15 22:25:02

It does seem weird for engineers Dame, my industry advertises eng jobs at salaries of "30-78k" hmm confused

I mean, WTF!? Can't understand what that's about.

Jessica2point0 Mon 18-May-15 22:25:37

I don't like the blanket ban, but I really don't like the idea that any random colleague can find out how much I get paid. If I choose to tell them, that's fine. Otherwise, my pay (like my contract) is between me and my employer. Categorically none of anyone else's business. My parents don't even know how much (or little) I earn.

MaidOfStars Mon 18-May-15 22:26:22

Average wage measures are skewed against females, who are more likely to work part time/career breaks/etc. That masks any woman doing the same job as a male colleague yet still getting paid less.

You need to compare on a like for like basis. Here is man doing job A and female doing job A - do they get paid the same?

AyeAmarok Mon 18-May-15 22:28:38

Agree Maid, needs to be:

Jobs at grade 1 - average male salary X, average female salary Y.

Jobs at grade 2: etc.

NoNameDame Mon 18-May-15 22:28:40

I can, nearly causing mistakes is a big issue, it's shows somebody is not coping very well at their job - this is justification in my eyes for them not getting a payrise in line with someone else who is good at their job.

When starting a job - pay should be pretty equal and generally at the bottom of the pay bracket for that role ( only varying if someone brings lots of experience, more skills to a role )

As you have been at the company for a few years if you have earned a promotion by going a good job (or just not doing a bad job depending on how generous your co is) then you are your employer (or your employer really as they hold all the power) negotiate on what you are now worth.

MaidOfStars Mon 18-May-15 22:28:46

Jessica I don't know that colleagues should be able to match a name to a salary, but clear pay scales and a defined list of criteria/responsibilities for each scale will go a long way.

MaidOfStars Mon 18-May-15 22:31:09

Can you tell I work within a framework of equal pay for equal jobs, clear lists of responsibilities and targets to achieve promotion, and an open salary scale? grin

LotusLight Mon 18-May-15 22:32:20

By the way there was huge debate over this whilst the Equality Act 2010 went through. As far as I remember that Act now gives you a right to force the company to tell you what others are earning if you are bringing a discrimination action.

See eg
"It can still be lawful to require confidentiality but you cannot enforce any confidentiality obligations where an employee is disclosing their pay to someone else (including for example a trade union representative or a journalist) with a view to establishing whether there is any difference in pay relating to one or more protected characteristics. Your employees will also be entitled to ask colleagues (and former colleagues), how much they are paid as long as their purpose is to find out whether there may be unlawful discrimination in the pay arrangements."

www.equalityhumanrights.com/private-and-public-sector-guidance/employing-people/equal-pay/discussing-pay-with-colleagues/questions-and-answers-for-employers-on-pay-secrecy

I am all for women disclosing pay. Far too many of them don't ask for the pay rises men get (and I write as someone who earned 10x their husband so quite good at getting higher pay).

NoNameDame Mon 18-May-15 22:33:20

aye you get different grades of engineers junior, senior, principle etc and engineers have very varying levels of experience based on what projects they have worked on, budgets they have managed. E.g getting someone who has experience of working with the mod is great and pretty valuable even if they are not using that experience on a specific project they bring that experience to the company. A more junior engineer may do the job well or better but there will always be massive differences in what they bring to the role.

Your company might be willing to hire a junior for the role and pay 30k but if they get the chance to hire a principle engineer they might do that and pay 70k - they are doing the same role but pay is hugely different. Probably because of the different skills, experience and how good they each are

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now