Common challenges

The $64,000 Question: Is Pay Transparency Worth It?

November 21, 2019

How much do you make? For many working Canadians, it’s hard to imagine a more uncomfortable question, and employers likewise tend to feel discomfort when employees raise questions about compensation. Still, concerns about fair and equal pay are everywhere. Money never seems to go as far anymore, and that $64,000 game show jackpot that would have felt so lucrative in the ’50s sounds far less impressive today.

The gender pay gap remains stubbornly large, as do disparities for persons with disabilities, and racialized and LGBTQ persons. So too have concerns grown about pay ratios between executives and the average worker, along with vocal debate about minimum wage rates. Across the country, people worry about earning enough money to take care of their basic needs, and still finding savings for emergencies and long-term goals like retirement.

All of these questions turn on what people earn, but for a long time information about pay was difficult to find. Job postings rarely list salary ranges, and even in salary negotiations employees seldom know what their peers earn, basing their requested values on what seems intuitively reasonable instead of verified figures.

This informational asymmetry is beginning to change, though. Savvy candidates and employees can find a wealth of information online to guide their expectations. Though many people are still reluctant to speak publicly about their earnings, thousands are perfectly willing to anonymously reveal their wages and salaries online, applying pressure to employers to provide their own figures, whether to validate or dispute the anonymous posts. Some organizations even reveal their compensation formulas online for everyone to see, and though being so public might be farther than your organization is willing to go, being a little more transparent about pay is still worth exploring.

If a company is transparent about pay from the start, they can reduce those awkward compensation questions down the road. Download our FREE Compensation Transparency Guide to learn some of the benefits of pay transparency for various stakeholders, along with some advice on how you can make pay transparency work for you.

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