Would you share your salary publicly?

I stop the conversation with a stranger when they ask me what I do before we even get around to pay.

Same here. Hell, it used to be published in the local paper. Might still be, donno, don’t care.

This is a live issue with my current (private) employer. When I started 15 years ago, it was explicitly forbidden to discuss your pay with anyone other than your manager, I believe doing so was classed as gross misconduct (i.e. you could well be fired). I’m in the UK and I don’t know whether that was legal then, or now. The company has grown hugely since then and things are very different nowadays, a lot more transparent in general and I believe there is no prohibition on discussing these matters with other colleagues. However, speaking personally, while I accept the arguments about avoiding unfair pay gaps, I quite like to keep it confidential. I have absolutely no interest in what others are earning - I would assume that if higher or lower than my salary, there is a reason for that. My focus is on whether I’m happy with what I’m being paid.

I am of two minds on this.

I understand why employers want you to keep quiet. I don’t think that is a mystery to any of us.

On the other hand, my salary is my own private business.


I work for a state. There is a website where anyone can search any employee by name and see what they were paid in the last month/year.

I think that speaks well of your employer.

it’s taboo in the US for sure!

Kayaker, is that a “no” vote, then? :stuck_out_tongue:

ETA apparently I don’t remember how to multiquote. or make a cranky emoji. >:-(

Heh, yep!


When I was a federal employee, I retired as GS-13 Step 10 - so anyone who knew how to google could find what I made.

In my post-retirement jobs, I wouldn’t share my pay info. I worked as a drafter (mechanical and electrical drawings) for 4 different companies over 7 years, and my pay ranged from $25 to over $40/hour depending on the employer and my work responsibilities - either just drafting or drafting and designing. No idea what any of those positions would pay now - it’s been 3 years since I was gainfully employed.

What would you do with the information? “Sam makes more money than I do” is not a winning argument. A young manager probably has one or more employees who make higher salaries than the manager. The only winning salary comparison argument is a salary offer from another company.

As a Director I had 6 managers, each with 6 (give or take some) employees. Once a year we made a chart of each employees salary against a reference line of performance from worst to best. Employees far below the line were under paid and far above the line were over paid. We distributed our salary budget to make corrections.

It was my policy that salary disclosure was a dismissal offense. HR took me to task over it. I agreed that it was not a company policy, but it was mine.

A Manager and employee should discuss salary in the context of the job and the managers ability to meet the employees need.

“Sam makes more than me” is not a winning argument. " All the male accountants earn more than all the female accountants" might be. But I will never know if all the male accountants are paid than all the female ones if we can’t discuss salary.

It was my policy that salary disclosure was a dismissal offense.

Why? After all, you don’t have to give me a raise if Sam gets paid more so why does it matter if I know Sam gets paid more?

I would share it, context depending. I try not to share with casual friends just because I know that I’m making more than some (who struggle a bit) and feel like a dick saying “Check out this money”. But I don’t feel like I need to keep it as private information either; if someone asked, I’d probably say.

I feel like this is probably somewhat income dependent as well – someone not making much might not want to invite the stigma of being “valued” less in our Calvinist “success is a reflection of your virtue” society.

OTTOMH I now make about $26,000 a year. I am proud (very proud indeed) to finally have a full time job after years of being on disability due to severe and chronic depression. But, I keep comparing myself to others around me and the path my life was supposed to take. AFAIK, my employer is paying me twice minimum wage. It’s almost a chair-moistener position and they could have gotten away with less.

Should be “all the male accountants are paid more than all the female ones” , of course

I wouldn’t make a TikTok about it, but a handful of times someone asked me what I made, and I told them. My specific position, seniority, and tenure didn’t really create a lot of comparables, so I wasn’t worried about causing an issue.

You are correct. Pay inequality based on gender is an issue that must be addressed with HR, not hearsay. HR has to analyze the situation and address it with employees. The manager and employee should take the issue to HR together.

“Why? After all, you don’t have to give me a raise if Sam gets paid more so why does it matter if I know Sam gets paid more?”

Because It’s irrelevant. The only thing that counts is the employees performance and the managers ability to provide commensurate compensation.

What if Sam makes less than you? Would you then be happy?

This is really the issue. I think it makes a lot of sense for salaries to be transparent in a professional context. In a personal context, it’s a nightmare.

But the employee can’t do that if they don’t know what anyone else is making, which they can’t know if other people get fired for telling them.

And it’s not just internally: if I have been at a company for 10 years, how do I know if I am currently being paid what I am worth to other employers? When salaries are hush-hush, the only way is for me to go through the entire process of applying/interviewing/getting an offer, which is a bullshit waste of time if what I really want to do is to stay where I am and I am just looking for a comp in a raise discussion.

I might be happy even if Sam makes more than me, depending on the situation. But again, if it’s irrelevant why would you fire Sam for telling me what he makes? * Unless you fear that will prompt me to look for another job if you won’t increase my pay.

* Which by the way is probably a violation of labor law in the US unless Sam is a supervisor.

We try to pay similar (or exact) salaries for people in similar positions. We try to keep salaries private because some people get pissed off if someone is making more, and other people get pissed off if someone is making the same. As noted, “Sam makes more than me” is not a winning argument, but it does foster dissatisfaction. We tell our employees to let us know if they think they are not being fairly paid, without reference to what anyone else might be making. When someone asks for a raise, they generally get it. (I can’t think of an exception)

An individual employee can never know where he/she stands in the overall ranking/rating/payscale. The information is not available by random sampling other employees. The only productive path is an open conversation with the manager.

On the rare occasion where this occurred, my response was the I was going to fire Sam. It deflected the whine and set the tone for conversation. Of course I could only refer him (it was always a him) to his manager.

If you want to advance your position, talk to management about the job and ask for opportunities for improvement. Establish that communication and it will pay off at review time. Salary hearsay won’t get you anyplace.