Do You Talk About Your Salary With Your Coworkers?

Do You Talk About Your Salary With Your Coworkers?

It’s generally considered bad form to talk about your salary with coworkers, but it’s becoming more common. Do you ever talk about your salary with coworkers?

Picture: John Lambert Pearson/Flickr

According to the Wall Street Journal, people are talking about their salary a lot more these days, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing if you follow a few ground rules. With the taboo lifted, we want to hear it: do you talk about salary with your coworkers? How do you go about it?

Workers Share Their Salary Secrets [Wall Street Journal]


  • Everyone on the same level in our company earns the same except for their monthly performance based bonus, which we do discuss in order to encourage people to do better next month, so there’d really be no reason to.

      • Given he’s in a different country I think he’s safe hehh.. I am sending him a letter today though just to say lol, because hey – what’s the internet for if not for spreading lol’s. (Though the person that downvoted me twice clearly feels there’s some fundamental difference there haha)

  • It depends who you are talking to and how much you trust them. Most employment contracts forbid you from discussing your salary with anyone so it could cause some problems for you if you did and the other person told somebody else.

    • I’m not sure it’s correct to say that most employment contracts forbid it.. I’ve never had one, nor been in a company that had such a clause for anyone else. Maybe as a matter of policy, sure – as a matter of contract, not in my experience.

      • It’s done to avoid things like bad decisions made because of jealousy and also
        blackmail within the company: He earns more? I’ll do less then. I earn more than you! I am worth more to this company than you. yadayada etc. Thus creating chaos within the ranks.
        So yeah it’s there for good reason.

        Ppl still do though.

        • Last three jobs I’ve worked have had this clause.

          Current boss has warned people at staff meetings that if they discuss their salaries with colleagues and are found out, they’ll receive a formal warning.

          I am interested in the enforceability of these clauses though…

          • The general reason is that people have different levels of experience and capability.

            There’s also an understanding that some people work harder and that also factors in.

            At my current work the spread is about 10k either side of the median, with the mean very close to the median.

  • I think it depends on the situation, We were recently bought out by another company and i did discuss with one of their employees what he was earning compared to me and i found out i was paid quite a bit less for the same job. On the flip side i dont think it would be appropriate to ask your boss what he was on.

  • I work for the public service. As a result I know how much everyone in the organisation earns except for the senior executive staff. Its so open… the rates are actually published on our website.

  • When I was contracting I used to discuss my hourly rate with the other contractors.
    Their agencies were getting the same daily rate for their staff but were taking a bigger percentage of the cash then my agency was taking from me.

  • I work as a freelance media professional,

    In my line of work, and for many others working at my role/level of the industry there is a common issue regarding pay.

    We dont have an official union to back us up, and the projects in which we participate often squeeze us into tighter financial positions. (Our pay scale has decreased over the last decade and our responsibilities have increased).

    I have shared information regarding pay ranges based on levels of expertise and based on tasks required in certain roles.

    i.e. This sort of work on a project of X would pay roughly y…z.

    The benefits of doing this are that as a group, we do not undercut or under sell the positions we are in. Unofficially we can push our wages higher and force employers to reconsider the ‘actual’ cost of the work we do.

    To support this, I had an experience during an interview, whereby a potential employer was bargaining me down to a very low rate. Barely worth my while to do the job. But I was desperate.

    I was very lucky to receive a call from a colleague who offered me another job – after I had been asked to consider the low-ball offer from the interview.

    With a new job in hand, I felt more confident and stated my availability and that I would charge my full free-lance rate and can not move on this.

    They agreed to pay my full rate and asked if I would keep it quiet from the others as they have been working over time and extra days free of charge for “passion and belief in the project”… unfortunately, passion doesn’t feed you or pay the bills.

    Employers need to take more responsibility when considering budgets and schedules. I am seeing more disregard for deadlines now than I have ever seen. And it is declining rapidly.

    Strength in numbers I say.

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