Asking your coworkers about their salary or talking about salary, in general, is taboo in many offices. It gives employees the impression that they can’t compare their wages and compensation with their coworkers and determine whether or not they are paid right.

On the other hand, talking about money is always a sensitive topic that may create unnecessary discomfort or discontentment among your team or peers.

Why Should You Discuss It?

There are many benefits to discussing your salary with your coworkers. First, it allows you to be transparent and know if you are being paid fairly or not. It will also help you expose any possible discrimination that some employers tend to hide to prevent reporting to the government.

Second, speaking about your salary can help you request better pay, especially if you believe that your former employer is underpaying you. Employers often check the market rates for key positions depending on the employee’s role and experience.

Finally, the transparency salary discussions will help you be more productive and satisfied with your situation. Once you find out that your salaries are done fairly, and everyone knows how it is computed, you will be more focused on your work and know that the company appreciates your work.

Why Shouldn’t You Discuss It?

On the other hand, there are also many disadvantages to speaking about your salary with your coworkers.

First, salaries are computed differently for every employee to match their experience, skill sets and others. With this in mind, you may share the job title with another employee but get different salaries based on your situation. Specific roles come with benefits that replace a cut in salaries like companies stocks. It boils down to salary negotiation with HR when the incumbent was first hired.

Second, speaking about your pay can also increase discontent in the workplace. If other people find out that you are paid better than them, they may become jealous and find ways to show their discontent through the quality of their work. It may also trigger disagreements that can affect everyone’s workflow in the process.

Salary discussions can strain your relationship with your employer, especially if you resign because of salary dissatisfaction. Some employers may use this as a reason to prevent you from getting new job offers by not giving you good recommendations even if your credentials are stellar.

Conclusion

If you feel like you are getting underpaid, speaking to your coworkers about it shouldn’t be something you should avoid. Transparency can help you decide whether it’s time to make the shift or not. If you want to be careful about salary talks, there are many ways to check without speaking to your coworkers about it. You can do your research online through career sites like Glassdoor, talk to friends in the same industry or opt to discuss it with your managers directly openly.

Know that salary may not be the only way to acknowledge your work. It is the whole package: money, satisfaction, camaraderie amongst colleagues, non-monetary benefits and career path that count the most.

What do you think? Should you discuss your salary with your colleagues? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Stuck in a sensitive situation in your workplace? Don’t know what to do? Check out these articles that cover sensitive topics:
5 Sensitive Topics that You Shouldn’t Discuss in Office
Politics and You
How to Politely Turn Down After-Work Socialising Without Hurting Your Career or Offending Your Coworkers

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9 replies on “Should You Discuss Your Salary with Your Coworkers

  1. This topic is coming up more often in articles about the workplace – whether we should be changing our attitudes toward discussing salaries. If only there were a strategic way to find out if people in similar jobs are being paid a similar wage!

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  2. I wouldn’t discuss salary with my co workers. If I felt I was not getting what I was worth, I would do some research through Seek. Job ads there often include a simple chart to indicate roughly what that particular role is paying. If I still felt I was underpaid I’d arrange a private meeting with my manager and the HR department.

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  3. I think discussing your salary as a range is more appropriate in the workplace instead of mentioning a number. Since compensation is based on experience, education, region, and sadly race and gender. I also think having a range and knowing a little bit about the person who is providing the information allows one to pause and think about their strengths and weaknesses.

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