“What is the worst that can happen if you ask your colleagues what they are paid?”
Sharing salary information amongst colleagues is a critical way that women have uncovered unequal pay. Consider with whom you may be in a position to share information about both salary and benefits. Perhaps you, like Samatha Barry, can nurture a whisper network worth 10 thousand.
Ask: “Does this range seems appropriate?”
Ask: “Is this salary range I am targeting, too high or too low?“
Tips To Successfully Ask About Salary Information
- Make it clear this is about you and your fair pay, not about them.
- Ask professionals in your industry who work in similar roles.
- Ask both men and women; you may well find that the men have higher salaries and bonuses.
- Do you have a connection who already works where you are interviewing? A conversation about ‘what it’s like to work there’ is worth the time investment. Ask about what benefits the organization typically offers.
- Consider also with whom you would be willing to share your own salary information.
“Pay secrecy reinforces racial biases as well.”Morela Hernandez, University of Virginia, USA
“What is the worst that can happen if you ask your colleagues what they are being paid?”
Probably that it is uncomfortable and they tell you to mind your own business. On the two occasions I asked male colleagues what they were paid. There was a gap of 14%- 16% in basic pay even though I had more senior responsibilities in one case and made more of a contribution to the bottom line in the other. That money will go to someone, either your boss or your more confident colleagues; if you negotiate at least it can go to you.”Gendelity Salary Negotiation Workshop Participant
Research by professor David Burkus indicates that learning you are paid less than colleagues can initially be very, very hard to hear, and even disheartening. Seriously, how surprising is that? This information equips you to take action and may even inspire you to get to work on obtaining fair pay. Just remember to carefully plan your approach to salary negotiation, not just react.
Katrina Jones, Diversity and Inclusion Leader at Amazon Lab126, reminds us that “Culturally, [salary sharing] is fairly taboo among black women, but it can help you to understand pay by industry and function, and can help you all get more comfortable having conversations about money and finances.”
Who Is Willing To Share Salary Information?
Salary sharing can be an important tool in narrowing the wage gap and improving negotiating situations and outcomes for women and all people from underrepresented groups; indeed, pay secrecy can reinforce racial biases (Foster, 2020)
Further Actions On Asking About Salary
- Sign up for Gendelity’s Next Online Negotiation Course
- Read Your Co-Workers Should Know Your Salary by Prof David Burkus
- Read I’ll Share My Salary Information if You Share Yours New York Times Article
- Listen to Salary Disclosure At Work – Women At Work by HBR