Saturday, April 26, 2008

Salary Info Gets Out? Really?

An athlete's worth to a college is often negotiated behind the closed door of a coach's office with the scholarship amount kept a guarded secret, like a salary in a workplace. But the figures have a way of eventually getting out, as they do in any office.
The part about salary info getting out seem like false conventional wisdom to me. I have read similar assertions many times over the years, but in my 20+ years experience, both as employee and manager, it is just not very accurate. In general nobody discusses salaries of others in the workplace, and I have known of specific cases where there were substantial outliers, in both directions, and neither the outliers nor their peers seemed aware of the situation.

Ironically, 2 hours after posting, this, I saw this article in the NYT that seems to say differently. I remember, 20 years ago, my cousin Cliff opined that this social taboo worked to the disadvantage of employees, since it preserved a condition of information asymmetry in compensation matters. Which is exactly one of the motivations cited for the move toward frankness among friends in this regard.

2 comments:

  1. Information is power, always.

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  2. I agree - I've never known salary to be discussed openly among employees, except maybe among a group of employees all hired at the same level (right out of college) and for the same salary - like when I worked at the Fed. That doesn't break much of a taboo, though.

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