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Younger employees breaking long-standing workplace taboo and share salaries

Posted at 6:35 AM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 11:21:59-04

Many consider it taboo to tell your co-workers how much money you make. Yet, a recent nationwide survey by financial company, Bankrate, shows the outlook on a longstanding workplace tradition may be starting to change.

Survey results show almost 42% of Gen Z workers (ages 18-25) and 40% of Millennials (ages 26-41) have shared their salary information with a coworker or another professional contact compared to 31% of Gen Xers (ages 42-57) and 19% of Baby Boomers (ages 58-76).

Mykail James, a program planner, and scheduler in the defense industry openly posts on TikTok about budgeting and salary transparency.

The 26-year-old shares her base salary is about $90,000 a year and in some of her TikTok messages, she even goes so far as to teach others how to break into her industry.

"When people don't know how much you're being paid, you can't honestly fight for fair payment," said James.

"Salary transparency doesn't only mean that I'm going to ask for more. It's understanding how I can negotiate that for more," she added.

Sarah Foster with Bankrate, says with millions of jobs up for grabs and inflation at a 40-year high, that may be motivating younger generations to break a longstanding workplace taboo of sharing salaries.

"It was the pandemic and really coming out of this, the economic recovery that gave these younger workers a lot of the leverage to seek out the pay that they want," said Foster.

"It has to do with lots of changing social norms as well as workplace priorities," she said.

For Mykail James, conversations around compensation were common practice in grad school with her professors and alumni even encouraging salary transparency among her classmates.

"We were so used to talking about our salaries and who got an offer, well how much was his offer for? Okay well, if that was his offer, do you think I can negotiate, how much should I ask for?"

According to a survey from Glassdoor, nearly 2 in 3 employees (63%) prefer to work at a company that discloses pay information over one that does not and 63% of employed women believe the Great Resignation gives them more leverage to negotiate their pay.

James adds sharing her professional success on social media may also help others realize, they can do the same.

"I wanted to also show to other Black women, other young Black women, you can be young and command a high salary."