Should You Tell Your Friends How Much You Make?

But should you? Mil­len­ni­als are no­to­ri­ous for over-shar­ing, but are you go­ing too far when you re­veal your salary to fam­ily, friends and co­work­ers?

CLEO (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

As­tudy by fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany Bankrate, Inc. found that 48 per­cent of mil­len­ni­als share their salaries with friends, and 30 per­cent with co-work­ers. This is a siz­able in­crease com­pared to the 21 per­cent and 8 per­cent of their re­spec­tive baby boomer coun­ter­parts. As with most things, there are pros and cons to shar­ing or hid­ing your salary, but there has been an emerg­ing con­sen­sus favour­ing salary trans­parency over se­crecy. Shar­ing with friends Given how much we share on so­cial me­dia, it’s per­haps un­sur­pris­ing that peo­ple are more open about how much they make. Euo­dia, a psy­chol­o­gist, agrees: “Peo­ple are get­ting more

con­fi­dent shar­ing [their salaries] be­cause the cul­ture of shar­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge has be­come in­creas­ingly trans­par­ent with the use of so­cial me­dia plat­forms. This, in turn, has em­pow­ered mass move­ments [such as this one].”

But un­like hol­i­day snaps, shar­ing salary in­for­ma­tion has a more prac­ti­cal pur­pose. “My friends and I don’t share our salaries for brag­ging rights, but be­cause we want to know if we’re be­ing paid fairly at our com­pa­nies and be­cause we want to know how other peo­ple bud­get their money,” says Shan­non, a 22-year-old work­ing in public re­la­tions. “It’s not easy be­ing on your own [fi­nan­cially] for the first time, so it’s help­ful to know how your friends are get­ting along.”

Shar­ing with col­leagues

Dis­cussing your salary among friends is one thing, but there’s more at stake when you re­veal your salary to your col­leagues. An ob­vi­ous risk of shar­ing your salary is hav­ing your em­ployer re­tal­i­ate against you. Gen­er­ally, com­pa­nies are not al­lowed to fire you for re­veal­ing how much you get paid, but there are other sub­tle ways of re­tal­i­a­tion – for ex­am­ple, your boss over­look­ing you for a well-de­served pro­mo­tion.

Ask­ing up

“There’s def­i­nitely a right way and a wrong way to go about ask­ing your col­leagues, es­pe­cially if you don’t know them that well,” says Am­ber, a 25-year-old work­ing for a tech start-up. “I never ask them to give me an ex­act fig­ure be­cause it’s un­nec­es­sary and seems more per­sonal. Ask­ing for a ball­park range has been suf­fi­cient for me when I’m look­ing to ask for a raise. As long as they’re in your de­part­ment and aren’t your boss, I ac­tu­ally find it less awk­ward if you ask some­one in a more se­nior po­si­tion. Higher rank­ing peo­ple don’t see you as di­rect com­pe­ti­tion so they’re usu­ally very happy to guide you and help an­swer ques­tions. It’s also less likely to get awk­ward be­cause both par­ties al­ready know who is get­ting paid more.”

The is­sue with se­crecy

While it comes with risks, the prac­tice of be­ing open with salaries may have good long-term re­sults if enough peo­ple do it. In his TEDx talk on salary trans­parency, Pro­fes­sor David Burkus said, “shar­ing salaries openly across a com­pany... makes for a bet­ter work­place for both the em­ployee and the or­gan­i­sa­tion. When peo­ple don’t know how their pay com­pares... they’re more likely to feel un­der­paid and... dis­crim­i­nated against.” This in turn cre­ates a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment. Some re­searchers even sug­gest that salary se­crecy is what al­lows gen­der and racial wage gaps to per­sist.

If you’ve been open about your earn­ings, you’re al­ready part of the move­ment that has been break­ing down the stigma around talk­ing about wages. It might seem like a small step, but if it leads to clos­ing wage gaps and im­prov­ing col­lec­tive well-be­ing, who doesn’t want that (along with more money, please)?

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