Salary & Benefits

Should Your Company Opt for Greater Pay Transparency?

To tell or not to tell, that is the question. But it may be a moot point, since many of your employees are already talking.

Citing a survey conducted by consumer financial services firm Bankrate, The Wall Street Journal reports that nearly half of Millennials say they talk about compensation with their friends, compared to 36 percent of Americans overall.

But before you blame Millennials for yet another workplace trend, you may want to consider that young people, in general, tend to discuss aspects of their lives with one another. It just so happens that surveys on matters like pay have been more readily available since Millennials have been in the workforce. Blame it on technology.

Tech Tells the Truth

And technology is partly to blame. Because of sites like Glassdoor, job candidates can find out what companies pay for various positions. Many job listings at Glassdoor now include salary estimates. In addition, the site’s employee reviews often include salary information.

In its Salaries section, Glassdoor also offers salary details by position title. These details include the national average for the position and the average pay in the geographical area in which a job seeker is searching.

Glassdoor allows a job seeker to see his or her market worth, as well. The site’s personalized salary calculator estimates salary based on title, company, location, and experience. Glassdoor calculates “your market worth” using its extensive database of salaries and relevant current job openings.

If this weren’t enough, other online tools, like those at and PayScale’s Salary Calculator, allow for additional calculations—and comparisons.

How close can a savvy job candidate come to knowing his or her fair market value? In some instances, the “estimate” is spot-on.

Changing Perceptions

Not that long ago, salary was a taboo subject. Job candidates were advised to not mention salary until the employer discussed it. While this is still considered protocol, it seems rather quaint in today’s environment.

And with salary a top consideration for most candidates – regardless of what they say – why not address the matter up front?

Some companies have become more transparent about salaries, and are even including them in job postings.

At RecruitCon Road Trip East in Boston, Elena Valentine, CEO of Skill Scout, a company that helps companies hire through video, cited benefits of including salary information in job ads, noting how the practice can save time on recruiting – by screening out applicants who wouldn’t take the job at what the company pays.

In a recent Recruiting Daily Advisor article, Bridget Miller also highlights this as a benefit of pay transparency, and she includes others. Interestingly, Miller notes that pay transparency is not a new practice; it used to be the norm.

Still, whether an employer decides to become completely transparent about pay, and list compensation information in job postings, will depend on several factors, including corporate culture.

As Miller points out in another Recruiting Daily Advisor article, there are other, legitimate concerns, as well. For one, sharing this information means everybody, including your competitors, will know how much you’re paying.