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Sunday, August 24, 2021

The notion of salary transparency among peers, first broached back in April, is picking up steam, with advocates suggesting it’s inevitably going to be SOP in the workplace.

All theoretical, until it gets down to the actual dollars:

But some people are already defying the taboo. [software company owner Ann] Price, for one, was happy to tell me that her salary is $300,000. Her project managers earn $80,000.

But when I asked [Glassdoor.com CEO Robert] Hohman, he stammered, then answered: “$200,000.” Later, he sent an e-mail message to say he had done something he had been procrastinating about: post his salary on his own Web site.

Compare this to David’s original assessment of this open-salary phenomenon, with which I agreed: That it’s easy to give full disclosure when everyone in your professional/social group is making peanuts, but once someone starts making significantly more, the peer relationships get strained and discretion becomes the wiser option. I suspect that Hohman falls into this situation; as for Price, she probably hangs with a crowd that makes about the same as she does, and therefore, doesn’t have to deal with disparities among her peers.

In market terms, it’s indeed advantageous for individuals to know the landscape within their own professions. When that principle moves into social circles, it’s more fraught with peril. I’d say for all this talk of transparency, it’s moving toward a fairly limited form of it: Within industries, basically as a walled-garden approach.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 08/24/2008 10:59:51 PM
Category: Business, Society
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3 Feedbacks »
  1. While the article has a few “oops” salaries revealed situations, they were in small, and what seems like semi-recently formed companies. Problems from companies with less than 15 people, and less than 10 years old.

    Now take that to an old corporation with thousands of employees.

    There are many things to take into account re:salary number, like time when hired, for example. Salaries are rarely adjusted for such things, and unfortunately frequently forgotten when an outsider is looking in on salaries and determining “worth”.

    Comment by David — 08/26/2008 @ 11:21:00 AM

  2. And let’s not forget recruitment/acquisition costs: When you have to up a salary offer to lure a star performer over from another company. Transparency wouldn’t show this and thus give information out-of-context.

    Comment by CT — 08/26/2008 @ 11:54:57 AM

  3. Exactly. There are a lot of scenarios where things just aren’t as simple as a number, so I completely understand why salaries are as hush as they are.

    As I suggested before, I think this idea of salary disclosure is one of those things most people grow out of once they’ve been in large organizations for an extended period of time.

    Comment by David — 08/27/2008 @ 02:08:58 AM

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