You Make How Much?! More And More Workers Are Talking Dollars And Cents With One Another

May 2, 2013  |  

There are just some things you don’t talk about with other people at work: gastrointestinal issues, that strange cousin who’s only allowed to enter and leave your house through the back door, that mysterious tattoo that manages to see daylight every once in a while, and, most importantly how much money you make.

But that last taboo might be falling by the wayside. We just came across this recent Wall Street Journal piece that indicates the newbies to the workforce — the Millennial generation — are chatting about how much money they’re making with their colleagues. And using the information to their advantage.

“Accustomed to documenting their lives in real time on social-media forums like Facebook  and Twitter, they are bringing their embrace of self-disclosure into the office with them,” the article says. “And they’re using this information to negotiate raises at their current employer or higher salaries when moving to a new job.”

Of course, employers would prefer if everyone kept their wages on the hush-hush so they can negotiate down and keep salaries in check. But as with most everything in this day and age, the Internet is passing along information, through sites like, making once unknown salary stats public knowledge.

A labor law expert tells the WSJ that barring people from talking or tweeting about their pay is against the law. So the article recommends even more transparency from employers. Some companies, like the tech business Digg, are already taking that idea and running with it, for instance, offering “salary bands” that clearly outline how much people get paid. The article also outlines a couple of suggestions for talking about your salary at work so you can get a leg up. Among them:

Know your motivation—don’t bring up the topic if you just want to brag. That never goes over well.

It’s acceptable to ask a manager about the company’s pay philosophy and pay practices. Leaders should be able to explain why they pay the way they do.

Would you — or have you — ever talked about your salary with colleagues?

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