Should You Ask Colleagues What They Earn?
Most companies have strict policies about the divulging of employee salaries. It may be unclear about what the penalties are, but it’s considered practically taboo in some workplaces to ask what a colleague earns. However, a tide of change is happening in some companies where employees are questioning this long-standing policy.
Why Companies Don’t Want You to Know
The official reason why companies don’t want you to know what your colleagues are making is so employees won’t become envious of each other. The real reason is that they don’t want employees to have leverage against the company to ask for more money. If you knew what your colleagues earn, you could argue that you’re worth at least as much, if not more.
Companies Ask For Your Salary History
It’s not fair to have all this secrecy about your colleagues’ salaries when companies ask you for your complete salary history. They do this for the sole purpose of having leverage to hire you for the lowest possible salary. So you’re supposed to show all your cards in the game, while the company doesn’t lay any of their cards on the table.
The Truth About Secret Salaries
If companies really cared about jealousy in the workplace, then they wouldn’t have such things as “employee of the month” and special parking spaces for the “employee VIP.” They wouldn’t give prizes to the highest-grossing salesperson. The truth is, they don’t want you to know because that would give you a bargaining chip.
It’s Okay to Ask Sometimes
If you could get everyone in your office or department to see that an open salary discussion would benefit the entire group, then it’s okay to ask. But if you’re the only one asking, then, until the tide change comes to your company, it’s probably better not to ask.