Show us the money: Lon­don firm lets staff set salaries to counter pay gap Wage trans­parency helps fair­ness, say staff amid push to end salary se­crecy

Arab News - - BUSINESS -

probed,” Pinto said of the feed­back pro­vided.

Fur­ther talks and com­par­isons to in­dus­try data de­ter­mine the final pay in­crease, al­though if the em­ployee is not happy they can set their own salary.

Such a move is said to be rare, how­ever, as em­ploy­ees are well aware they will have to face their col­leagues who will know they have gone against their ad­vice.

“The good thing about the fact that our salaries are trans­par­ent is that they, by de­fault, keep the com­pany fair,” said Pinto.

This ex­tends to stamp­ing out al­leged gen­der in­equal­ity, which has marred some Bri­tish com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing the BBC.

The broad­caster was forced last year to dis­close the salaries of some of its top staff, show­ing men made up 12 of the 14 high­est-paid posts and lead­ing to com­plaints of un­equal pay for the same work.

Soft­ware en­gi­neer Caglar Senel said al­low­ing em­ploy­ees to see each other’s salaries means com­pa­nies can en­sure equal pay.

“It would be su­per-ob­vi­ous that women in the com­pany are get­ting this much amount of money, and the guys are get­ting this much amount of money, so I think that would be help­ful,” he said.

De­spite the suc­cess of pay trans­parency at Smar­kets, which has about 100 em­ploy­ees, some staff said they were un­sure the ap­proach would work for large com­pa­nies or other in­dus­tries.

Jordi Blanes i Vi­dal, a pro­fes­sor at the Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics, said such a sys­tem would work best in ar­eas such as sales, where there are clear mark­ers of per­for­mance.

“But in set­tings in which it is not as easy to jus­tify dif­fer­ences in pay — that is, pay in­equal­ity — with dif­fer­ences in productivity, pay trans­parency can be very de­mo­ti­vat­ing,” he said.

De­spite his warning, pay trans­parency is more widely ac­cepted in other coun­tries.

In Nor­way, the tax agency pub­lishes key in­for­ma­tion on­line about tax­pay­ers each year, in­clud­ing their earn­ings and wealth, al­low­ing Nor­we­gians to see how much their col­leagues are earn­ing.

There are sim­i­lar ap­proaches in Swe­den and Fin­land, where peo­ple can re­quest tax in­for­ma­tion by phone or in per­son, while in Ire­land em­ploy­ees have a right to re­quest pay in­for­ma­tion bro­ken down by gen­der for the same level of work.

A study by the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion found “cul­tural sen­si­tiv­ity” was the most com­mon bar­rier to rolling out sim­i­lar pay in­for­ma­tion rules across the con­ti­nent, while in Bri­tain the as­so­ci­ated costs were the main ob­sta­cle.

De­spite the chal­lenges in dif­fer­ent coun­tries and for larger com­pa­nies, Mulet-Mar­quis urged other firms try a trans­parency drive.

“The ad­vice would be to have healthy com­mu­ni­ca­tion, even out­side of the salary re­view,” she said.

“If your teams don’t com­mu­ni­cate well, that process is prob­a­bly not go­ing to work any­way. You have to build it on some­thing that is al­ready healthy.”

CLEAN START: Open­ness about salaries is rare in the UK, but Lon­don com­pany Smar­kets has adopted a rad­i­cal pay trans­parency with staff pro­vid­ing feed­back on peers’ per­for­mance. The move comes against a back­drop in Bri­tain of gen­der pay gaps and dis­putes...

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