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I have a couple of friends in managing positions from an industry that I plan to work in the future. Is it appropriate to ask them about the salaries of the position that I am interested in? Keeping in mind that I may work in their company. I'll make it clear for them that it's ok for me to take no for an answer.

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9

Before making any decision (on anything significant) it is sensible to find out all you can about the matter using a number of disparate sources. Assuming you ask politely, it's not unprofessional - it's market research.

That said, instead of asking "how much does a ... on your team earn" (which could put them in an awkward position from a GDPR/Data Protection perspective) ask a more generic question like "what range salary could a ... with 10 years experience expect to earn in your industry" or "what would be the starting salary for a ...".

However, asking your friends would result in a very small sample size. Recruitment agencies regularly carry out market surveys to benchmark salaries for all types of roles. This helps them guide both candidates and employers on what salaries are realistic for the role in question. They are often quite detailed too and will break down the package into base salary, commission, bonus etc.

Get in touch with a recruitment agency that works in that industry and ask them or google something like "auctioneer salary atlanta"

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Is it unprofessional to ask a manager about the salaries of their employees?

Yes

Is it appropriate to ask them about the salaries of the position that I am interested in?

Yes

But note these are two very different questions!

When you're interested in a job starting the conversation on the topic of salary is common, expected even, and it's absolutely fine to discuss this directly. What are your expectations, what are theirs? Do they align?

The thing you must not ask about or discuss is specifics about salaries of anyone other than you.

That you're friends with the people you're asking has no bearing here: the above is true whether you've known them for years or just met.

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  • Why shouldn't he ask for the salary of his possible position?
    – FooTheBar
    May 6 '20 at 12:40
  • 1
    I'm saying he should ask about the salary of his possible position :-) Just not about the specific salaries of other people with similar positions
    – davnicwil
    May 6 '20 at 12:58
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Is it unprofessional to ask a manager about the salaries of their employees?

It's not only unprofessional, it's illegal for a manager to disclose their employees' salaries depending on your locale. I recommend you use salary websites (such as Payscale, Paysa or Glassdoor) to do your research instead.

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  • Thanks for your answer. I live in a country where these websites aren't used that much so I can't get a solid estimate. May 5 '20 at 19:54
  • Or, with other words: it's legal for a manager to disclose their employees' salaries depending on your locale;)
    – guest
    May 5 '20 at 22:19
  • In most companies, the company doesn't allow the manager to disclose employee's salaries. In many countries, it would be illegal (violation of the employee's privacy rights). In most countries, employees would be up in arms if they found out (violation of the employee's privacy rights), which is also bad for the manager.
    – gnasher729
    May 5 '20 at 23:16
  • @gnasher729's got it right on the nose.
    – jcmack
    May 6 '20 at 1:30
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"You are a Buyer. You want to make a Deal. It's none of your business to ask about any other Deals that the same Seller might have made to any other Buyer."

"The Seller, if he is willing, will make you an Offer." This Offer is a Binding Business Proposition. For the most part, you must either Take It or Leave It. Do not look a gift horse in the mouth.

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