While salary discussions among co-workers have been considered taboo in the past, younger generations are much less likely to agree with that idea.
In fact, according to a new study of 1,000 employees by Skynova, 82 percent of Gen Z employees believe that salary discussions are appropriate among employees, compared to just 38 percent of Baby Boomers.
Employees’ changing expectations and attitudes are important to understand as companies continue to staff up after pandemic layoffs. And for meeting leaders working to build a stable team for a fast-paced, high-stress work environment, this might be especially valuable data. The sea change in how much younger employees share salary information can be emotional and disruptive.
Here’s what Skynova respondents said happened because of having salary discussions with current co-workers (they could choose multiple responses):
• Realized I was worth more: 33 percent
• Got a raise: 22 percent
• Felt jealous: 21 percent
• Found out an equal makes more: 21 percent
• Co-worker got a raise: 18 percent
• Found out an equal makes less: 16 percent
• Sought a new job: 16 percent
• Discussed an unfair salary with my manager: 13 percent
• Salaries became fairer: 9 percent
• Made a co-worker jealous: 8 percent
• Quit: 3 percent
A full 99 percent of survey respondents believe job postings should include a salary range. That viewpoint is not just popular but also the law in many places today. Over the past few years, eight states across the U.S. have passed salary transparency laws in an effort to improve salary equity. Fifteen other states are considering doing so.
While the laws vary somewhat, the general requirements are that employers include a salary range with job postings and spell out the other benefits and compensation that will be offered with the role. (A chart of states’ salary-transparency laws can be found here.)
According to a recent article in the New York Times (subscription required), 45 percent of all jobs listed by Indeed, a job search website, now include pay ranges, compared to less than 20 percent before the pandemic. Some companies, the article says, post overly broad salary ranges as a work around the new requirements, but state regulators are working to crack down on these tactics.
Including salary ranges in job postings may be potentially disruptive information. But as Skynova’s study reveals, changes in the amount of salary information that young employees share may be an even more unsettling factor among staff.
Meeting managers who hire freelancers should also understand that freelance rates can also be disruptive in an environment where more pay information is shared. Skynova’s study asked employees how they would feel if a freelancer made more than they did on an hourly basis.
While 30 percent said that they would be indifferent to the news, others recorded a more negative reaction (respondents could select more than one response):
• Unappreciated: 30 percent
• Frustrated: 28 percent
• Surprised: 26 percent
• Insulted: 22 percent
• Jealous: 15 percent
• Bitter: 9 percent