Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Two out of three UK employees unaware what colleagues earn

Glassdoor Survey Shows Salary Transparency Could Help Narrow Gender Pay Gap

New research[1] released today from Glassdoor, a jobs and careers community, reveals that discussing salary is still a taboo in the workplace, as just 35 percent of employees know what their colleagues earn. Of those that know, more than a third (38 percent) said that it was because their colleagues are very open about discussing salary and compensation. However, nearly one in four (22 percent) said it was through office gossip and five percent said that someone in the office had left sensitive information lying around. Most alarmingly, 4 percent claim they obtained this information from ‘someone in HR’.

There is significant appetite for more salary information in the workplace as 60 percent of employees think that companies should be forced to be more transparent. There are many benefits to this approach, but of those that want more transparency, more than half (52 percent) think it would create more trust between employer and employees, plus 48 percent believe it would force employers to create a more level playing field when it comes to setting salary ranges. A further 45 percent believe that it would help eliminate the gender pay gap, which is a far wider reaching issue.

Overall, 42 percent of employees feel comfortable sharing their salaries and this rises to 51 percent if it was anonymous.

Jon Ingham, Glassdoor career and workplace expert comments: “People don’t generally like talking about how much they earn directly with friends, colleagues or even partners, but there is a growing appetite for more salary transparency in the workplace. As well as forcing employers to create a more level playing field, it could help break down the gender pay divide. This cloak and dagger approach to salaries must come to an end.”

Currently just one in five employers (20 percent) share salary information internally within the company and 13 percent outside of the organisation. This makes it difficult for employees to benchmark themselves against the market and for job-seekers to find out where they should pitch themselves in terms of open positions.

Glassdoor helps job seekers circumvent salary secrecy, providing people with opportunities to research salaries submitted by employees at more than 340,000 companies, organizations and academic institutions. For example, a Brand Manager can see what they can earn at Unilever, Procter & Gamble or Diageo.

1.     The survey of 1,068 UK adults was conducted online within Great Britain by Harris Interactive UK on behalf of Glassdoor from 18 to 25 November, 2014.