Is pay secrecy making the pay gap worse?

We learn from an early age that there are certain things that we don’t talk about with strangers. Politics. Religion. Income. Our employers even tell us that we shouldn’t talk about pay with our coworkers.

For some, it can turn into a game to try to figure out who makes what and how they can afford their lifestyle. You may find all kinds of ways to track down what someone makes, but at the end of the day, all the secrecy means women are still getting the short end of the stick.

Here’s how pay transparency allows women to get an equal piece of the pie.

Secrets, secrets are no fun

It’s one thing to keep salary a secret when it comes to people outside of work. There are certain times when you might want to have an appearance of making (or not making) a certain amount of money depending on the social situation.

When it comes to peers at work, on the other hand, it gives all employees a weaker negotiating position. This is especially the case when walking into a new job in a new industry. You might have an idea of what the salary range should be, but it can be difficult to know the value of your skill set when it comes to a new employer.

When employers are clear about what each position pays and what qualifications make an employee more valuable, new hires can start a job with their eyes open.

Out in the open

Many companies have policies in place about what everyone is making. There’s a range from complete transparency to salaries being on a need-to-know basis. Just like any other secret, when no one knows, they can’t ask questions about why the situation is one way and not the other.

Pay transparency solves this issue. When pay is out in the open, employers need to be ready to justify differences between employee pay rates.

While pay transparency still allows for two people in the same position to make different amounts of money, having the rate out in the open means that they both understand why the difference exists. When employers and employees are on the same page regarding what everyone gets paid, it leaves less room for questionable disparities.

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