Can You Talk About Your Pay At Work

Can You Talk About Your Pay At Work

There’s a long list of taboo subjects at work, and you might be wondering if wages and salary are included in that list. In truth, you can probably speak about pay, but you need to be cautious. Oftentimes, salary discussions lead to resentment and rash decisions. Find out more about discussing pay at work and how you can avoid conflict when you bring up the topic.

Why Would an Employer Keep Salary Details Private?

Some employers prohibit their employees from discussing their salary. If you’re not sure about

the rules in your workplace, check the employee handbook or speak to someone from HR.

Companies sometimes aren’t transparent about salary because it can lead to resentment.

If one employee finds out that they make less than someone else in the same role, they could become angry and refuse to work as hard. In reality, there’s usually a good reason for the pay discrepancy. However, the people looking at the salaries may not be aware of those differences.

Another downside comes from the fact that public salary information allows another company to make a competitive offer to current or prospective employees. In general, however, salary transparency is a good thing.

How to Talk About Salary

You might want to talk about salary for any number of reasons. Whatever reasons you may have, you deserve salary transparency. However, you need to bring up the topic carefully. If you’re bringing up salary to your coworkers, be genuine and honest. Don’t offer up your salary unless someone asks you about it and you feel comfortable sharing the information.

To kick off the conversation, speak to someone who’s been with the company for longer than you. If possible, talk to someone in a more senior role. Doing this allows you to gain more insight into the company’s stance on salary transparency and salary in general. For instance, a senior individual might know that the company values loyalty and tends to increase pay drastically after a certain amount of time with the company. You may be able to learn enough about salaries that you don’t feel the need to bring it up to anyone else.

When you have the conversation, have a clear goal. Are you trying to learn how your salary compares to another company’s salary for the same role? Do you want to know how much you would make with a lateral move? When you ask questions about salary, make sure they relate directly to your focus. As you listen, pay attention to how your own qualifications compare to others. For instance, experience, education, and certifications often impact salary.

Talking to Supervisors

It may be appropriate for you to have this discussion with your supervisor. However, you should only do so after you’ve been with a company for at least six months. Asking about it too early on makes it seem as if you only care about the money.

When you bring this up to your supervisor, share your goals with them. Let them know about your short and long-term plans and desires. Ask them for feedback and ask what steps you can take to achieve your salary goals. By directing the conversation this way, you show your supervisor that you care about more than money. You show them that you care about the company and are a valuable team member.

Make it clear that your number one goal is to excel and that your long-term goal is to advance in your field. Once your manager tells you what you need to do to succeed, you can start taking measures to meet their expectations.

Talking to HR

During your discussions about salary, you might discover that you deserve a raise. If you work for a company that has an HR department, you can schedule a meeting with HR to talk about a raise. Don’t bring up the name of whoever gave you their salary information. You shouldn’t bring up the raise because someone else makes more than you.

Instead, bring up your accomplishments from the past year. What specific things have you done that show you deserve a raise? If you received any awards or positive feedback, bring that up as well. Give the HR manager a reason to increase your pay.

Ultimately, you need to show HR that you’ve made contributions to the company and that you have a bright future with the company. Time your meeting well by avoiding the conversation when the budget is tight or when the company is in a hiring freeze. Even if someone wants to give you a raise, they can only do so if there’s money in the budget.

How to Talk About Salary with a Potential Employer

While it’s great to talk about pay in your current job, it’s a conversation you also need to have with a potential employer. When you’re looking for work, the salary matters. Spend some time researching the average salary for your desired role. If the employer isn’t offering enough, you can try to negotiate better pay after a job offer.

With that said, you shouldn’t talk about the salary during an initial interview. It’s better to wait for the actual job offer, or the hiring manager might think that you only care about money. The only exception to this rule is for job listings that don’t display the salary. Before you waste your time or the employer’s time, you should find out a salary range for the position.

You can ask, “Do you have a salary range for this position?” Or, to show your long-term interest, ask, “What’s the maximum earning potential for this role?” If you ask about the salary, make sure you ask questions unrelated to compensation as well.

Your Pay Matters

If you think your employer isn’t paying you enough or is discriminating with salary, you should talk about pay at work. Follow the tips above to avoid making anyone uncomfortable, and you may end up negotiating a higher salary.

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