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Is it OK to Discuss Salary With Co-workers?

Estimated reading time: 1 mins

Got a raise? You probably want to shout from the rooftops – especially in this climate. But is it OK to discuss your raise or salary with coworkers?

I’ll cut to the chase. No it ain’t.

Discussing salary is a sure-fire way to create mayhem in your organization, and probably get you fired. Your coworkers don’t need to know this information, and if they were to find it out, you’ve passed a point of no return.

Imagine your coworker friend came bounding up to you and told you that they had a raise of $2,000 – which is $2,000 more than what you get. They do the same job, have the same experience, skills and knowledge. How would you feel? Pleased for her? Maybe. Pissed off? Certainly.

Then you might go to your HR Manager and complain. Or you might spread the word. Probably both. HR will have a crisis to mop up, and jealous, disgruntled employees to settle. Productivity takes a nose-dive.

This is why many employment policies contain a non-disclosure clause for salaries and benefits.

It’s much better to discuss these matters with HR and management. It’s a conversation for behind closed-doors.

If you really want to know if you are being appropriately paid, go to salary.com or payscale.com – they both provide the median income of many different job types, which will also include geographical differences. If you wish to, use this information during your next appraisal or salary review. Base your salary expectations on the industry norm and what value you’ll be bringing to the company, that’s all.

Comparing your salary with colleagues isn’t always comparing ‘apples with apples’. The factors you use to compare yourself against a colleague are probably not the same as your manager’s. We’re all unique, after all.

There is no need to share your salary with other coworkers! It just creates contempt and chaos. Keep it private!

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This post is part 7 of 15 in the series Getting Paid More

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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