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Discussing Salary With Peers

Should You Never Talk Salary With Your Co-Workers?

“If we can talk about how many orgasms we have with our mate, why can’t we discuss how much we make,” asks 32-year-old Ilana Arazie of Manhattan in a New York Times article called "Not-So-Personal Finance." She has a powerful point, but it still isn't so easy to open up the door to discussing salary with our peers. The article points out that while younger generations of workers are more likely to talk about salary than our parents, we're more inclined to have these discussions with friends and not with colleagues.

It's natural for workers to discuss first job offers with their friends because they're not yet sure what they're worth and what's fair. But it seems that as careers progress these salary-focused conversations disappear — it's not as worthwhile to compare paychecks when your careers don't relate to one another. It would seem more beneficial to discuss pay with your co-workers than your friends, but the article refers to a 2007 survey that showed 84 percent of respondents under age 35 agreed with the statement “you should never let your co-workers know how much you make.” Do you agree with these respondents?


elleduran elleduran 7 years
I find that though my stance aligns with the majority (salaries shouldn't be discussed) this is largely dependent on the workplace. In my case, I work at a miserable office with too few people, all of which are paid well under the appropriate bracket for our respective professions. When the knowledge leaked that a new employee was making more than those of us who had been there longer, it created tension and a sort of mutinous environment. The issue remains unresolved, but it's best to avoid these things, I think.
phatE phatE 9 years
This convo is long gone, but I have a comment for Mayara.. I think you're right to an extent, but you also have to remember everything that plays into your compensation package. Because of experience, or education people can do the same job, but make a higher income..On the other hand, people can be completely level and make completely different incomes.. The latter is the case where I work, and so again, you're right.. BUT, that's not always the case and talking about salaries opens up a whole can of worms that alot of times isn't resolved and can ruin a work environment.
Claire-Underwear Claire-Underwear 9 years
I haven't had a real job yet, so when you're working hourly jobs, i don't really think it matters. They probably know, anyway.
scmeggiry scmeggiry 9 years
Males get bent out of shape and use it to put you down. So I don't discuss salaries or raises anymore.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I don't know how I feel about this.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
Never discuss your salary with co-workers. Someone is going to end up feeling they got ripped off and when it leaks to other departments people start demanding a raise!
piraterie piraterie 9 years
Salary discussion with a co-worker has only happened once, and it just made me feel terrible, so I'm going with big no-no. I really never wanted to talk about salary, but one of my co-workers at an old job (same position as me, been at the company less time) just busted out with hers. And it was substantially more than I made, which for a variety of reasons, didn't seem fair to me. It just made me feel kind of sick thinking about it, although I eventually (mostly) got over it. But when I saw her slacking off on the internet all day and always trying to get away with doing the least amount of work possible and generally being a difficult, kind of terrible employee, I really would have been happier without the knowledge that she was making so much more money than I was.
geebers geebers 9 years
This post reminds me of my complaint to my coworkers about how jobs NEVER list salaries anymore. I mean not even a range! How ridiculous- if the job does not pay an appropriate salary why would I bother with an interview?? It boggles me how money is such a weird issue when we all make a living off of it.
McCubcakes McCubcakes 9 years
Ryot - check out (i think that's the place) it's a pretty good indicator of whats going on out there in your industry
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
good point mayara!
mayara mayara 9 years
Some of the reasons people are giving for NOT talking about salary with coworkers are exactly why I think people SHOULD. There are some countries where talking about how much money you make with people you just met isn't that big a deal compared to talking about your family, which is seen as much more personal. However, companies here don't want people talking about how much they make because then their employees might actually try to make their lives better when they realize that some of them are being taken advantage of.
Meike Meike 9 years
No way, something would change in my work relationship with a couple of my co-workers. I found out I made significantly more than people in an equal position to me because I negotiated a higher salary. Some companies take advantage of a young person's naiveness to not stand up for one's self when it comes to salary. Even I buckled down in my first job not knowing my worth.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
If you are close friends outside of work it's fine to discuss. Don't talk to people you aren't close with about it though.
gitwenty5 gitwenty5 9 years
last thing you want is MORE attention to how much you make. It's bad enough to juggle with office politics.
Ryot Ryot 9 years
I would never talk to coworkers about my salary, and don't talk to anyone about how much I make, other than my husband, my supervisor, and my mentor. However, I do wish there was some sort of anonymous, online database where people could enter their title, location, and salary. It would make negotiating for salary so much easier if you could easily find out what others in your field make.
Berlin Berlin 9 years
Yeah, and it just causes unnecessary resentment and competition, depending on where you work. I'm in the club scene and we don't really let each other in on the amount of tips we bring home b/c it would be BIG time competition among us all. You will hear from time to time a bitchy comment about how they never bring home 'less than this amount' and then you look at them and know that they are full of it, but even at that it causes resentment. Or if you make more than others around you, it can cause you to feel guilty too!
Beauty Beauty 9 years
I think it's better to keep things quiet — especially among coworkers! At my first job, I asked for a higher salary before I started. And then I heard my coworkers saying that they made $12k less than I did. Yikes! It would have been awkward if they'd known what I made. I don't feel bad for asking for a better salary, but it made me upset that they worked hard but made so much less.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 9 years
No way. Nothing good comes of it. You either find out you make to little (and get pissed), or someone else finds out THEY get to little (and they are pissed)!
divinelight divinelight 9 years
I recently had an issue in my office because I told a co-worker what I make. The co-worker tricked me into believing that her supervisor wanted to know, and the supervisor is also my superior, so he is allowed that information. However, the co-worker instead told other employees (who have completely different job descriptions) and they're now upset and complaining. I'm extremely livid about the situation to say the least.
luvluvg luvluvg 9 years
Definite no-no! I don't think my money is anyone's business but mine and the business I deal with.
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 9 years
I said no. As a teacher, our salary schedule is posted online. In some counties, they have listed how much each individual teacher has made (including supplementals). If I want to know how much someone makes, I just look it up. I can understand not discussing it in other careers. It still upsets me to know that I make 20K less than another teacher who has been teaching longer but does NOTHING in his classroom.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
The only time I have has turned out to cause problems. I don't even tell my friends how much I make (because we work for competing companies in the same positions). But currently I don't have any coworkers to talk to.
mini_pixie mini_pixie 9 years
I've talked with people I worked with about how much we make, but these are my really close girlfriends, ones I remained friends with long after we left the company. I just would not want to be put on the spot that way, or make anyone feel uncomfortable because their salary was higher or lower. Of course, I also work in payroll now, so I already know what they make ;)
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