7

If I was to share my salary history for my entire career publicly, could I get into any strife down the line?

The motivation for sharing:

  • I subscribe to the theory that companies actively discourage the sharing of salaries so that people don't know what their peers make and therefore don't ask for that salary.

  • I think it's important public knowledge for people who want to get into my field to know what they could make

  • 4
    not if you live in Sweden – Mangocherry Aug 22 at 10:09
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    "I think it's important public knowledge for people who want to get into my field to know what they could make" since the market value rises significantly each year due to inflation past salary is not going to tell anyone much. Market trends change too. They also have surveys for that purpose. – Jonast92 Aug 22 at 12:57
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    I work for a state agency in Florida, USA. Our HR policy manual prevents me from talking about my salary with coworkers, but anyone can file a request under our Sunshine Law (think Freedom of Information) and HR will provide a spreadsheet of name, position title, and salary. Only exceptions are for those who have restraining orders, etc. against others, then their name is masked out. So I can't ask Bob what he started at last week, but I can file a request and see what everyone is making.... – ivanivan Aug 22 at 17:19
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Yes.

Firstly, it may be in breach of your employment contract or company policy. So you should check that.

Secondly, when negotiating pay down the track, maybe at a different company, they could use this data against you.

If you feel inclined, do it anonymously.

  • 3
    In Australia I don't know that it's very common for employers to write that in to employment contracts. At the very least it isn't in my current contract. – 3stacks Aug 22 at 3:32
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    @3stacks It's not in my contract, but my company policy. I've updated my answer. – Gregory Currie Aug 22 at 3:50
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    In Finland, salary information is public on a national level through the tax statistics. – Juha Untinen Aug 22 at 5:34
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    @GregoryCurrie But are company policies binding if you do not work there anymore? – Atizs Aug 22 at 8:26
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    @Atizs No, not at all. (Though there may be conditions in the employment contract). I assumed by "salary history" it included their current salary. – Gregory Currie Aug 22 at 8:49
1

You're exactly right about why companies discourage (or prohibit) sharing salary information. From employers' points of view it reduces workplace conflict. And it lets them get away with paying different people different salaries for the same job.

Would changing this custom be good? Probably.

But, with respect, choose your battles wisely. Are you like Jake and Elwood Blues from the old movie, "on a mission from God?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4YrCFz0Kfc If so, what will it gain you?

Ask yourself this: If you share this information, will it truly help change this custom? If you're well-known and influential it might. Otherwise, it might just mess up your career a bit. Is it worth the trouble?

There are boards (like glassdoor) working to open this information up. Check them out. Read their mission statements for insight on how they think about this problem.

And think carefully before you share anonymously; some companies monitor their online profiles carefully and may figure out your identity.

  • Workplace conflict is a biggy, arguably the biggest problem. People get jealous. Or worse, you get jealous when people say "What? That's £5000 less than me!". They may think you don't deserve it. Not worth it in my opinion. – NibblyPig Aug 23 at 12:05
  • it also lets employers "get away with" paying two people the same who are the same but each think they are better than the other, a common enough thing to think. – Kate Gregory Aug 23 at 13:33
0

Sharing your salary amongst coworkers is an employee's right. It is a communication step toowards legal unionization formation and there is precedent that it should not be infringed. If you get in trouble, contact your labour board, or tell your manager you will be contacting your labour board.

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