SOURCE: Glassdoor.com

Glassdoor.com

February 05, 2010 08:00 ET

Employees Reveal Increasing Taboos Around Sharing Salary and Compensation Details

Despite Lack of Clarity for What's Fair Pay in Today's Job Market, Employees Report They Are More Likely to Talk Pay With Best Friend Than Boss or Human Resources

SAUSALITO, CA--(Marketwire - February 5, 2010) - As companies have pressed rewind on pay and bonus structures in the past 18 months, many are left in the dark on what is fair pay -- the "new normal" -- in today's market. Yet as employees and jobseekers are trying to evaluate their current worth, they've become increasingly uncomfortable about discussing their salary and compensation, according to a recent online survey by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Glassdoor.com of 1,356 employed(1) adults. In fact, 17 percent say they are not comfortable discussing their current compensation with anyone, up from 11 percent in May 2008.

Among those employees who are comfortable sharing salary information, details are more often shared with family and friends than those who can actually provide clarity or make a difference in their pay check: a boss or human resources representative. Only one in four (25 percent) of these employees are comfortable discussing their salary with their boss and are nearly twice as likely to discuss their compensation with their best friend (33 percent) than an HR Representative (18 percent).

"People have this underlying fear that talking about their salary or negotiating compensation with their boss or HR will make them look like they are ungrateful, especially in an economy where just having a steady paycheck is important," said Rusty Rueff, Glassdoor.com career and workplace expert, who has run global HR departments at Electronic Arts and PepsiCo before co-authoring Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business. "We're living in a different era, and companies and employees should be more open about compensation to bridge gaps in expectations and reach a common understanding of the 'new normal' in today's economy. Salary levels will take time to recover to pre-recession rates, but the more open we are to discussing what we are worth, the better we can prepare for the short and long terms."

Overall, those employees who are comfortable sharing compensation details discuss them with:

    --  Spouse / Significant Other:                66 percent
    --  Best Friend:                               33 percent
    --  Boss:                                      25 percent
    --  Financial Advisor:                         24 percent
    --  HR Representative:                         18 percent
    --  Other Employees at Their Level:            15 percent
    --  Other Employees at a Higher Level:          6 percent
    --  Casual Acquaintance Outside Work:           5 percent
    --  Other Employees at a Lower Level:           4 percent
    --  Other Employees Who Report to Me Directly:  2 percent

Not surprisingly, employees in the social media savvy generation (18-34) who are comfortable sharing information are more open to discussing compensation socially and professionally than older workers, aged 55 and older. For example, younger workers 18-34 are twice as likely to be comfortable sharing salary details with their best friend (42 percent) than with a human resources representative (20 percent) while less than one-third (31 percent) are comfortable discussing pay with their boss. On the other hand, more mature workers are less likely to discuss pay inside and outside of work. Of those 55+, one in four are comfortable sharing details with their best friend (25 percent) and boss (24 percent) while only 14 percent are comfortable discussing compensation details with HR. Younger men 18-34 exhibit the greatest comfort sharing pay details with casual acquaintances (11 percent) compared to just 2 percent of women aged 18-34 and 2 percent of men 55 and older.

Some additional variations by income level, location and marital status are highlighted below. Of those comfortable sharing salary details with others:

    --  Twice as many single/never married employees (49 percent) share
        compensation details with their best friend than married employees
        (23 percent).
    --  Employees in the West are twice as likely to share salary
        information with employees at the same level (22 percent) than
        those in the South (10 percent). By comparison 13 percent of those
        in the Northeast and 16 percent of those in the Midwest are
        comfortable sharing pay details with peers at work.
    --  It seems the less an employee makes, the less likely they are to
        discuss their pay: nearly one-third (31 percent) of those making
        $35,000 to $49,900 say they are not comfortable discussing their
        salary with anyone versus 10 percent of those making $50,000 to
        $74,900 and 8 percent of those making $75,000 or more.

For more information about Glassdoor.com and to obtain current salary information for specific job titles at more than 70,000 companies, please visit www.glassdoor.com or the Company's blog www.glassdoor.com/blog.

    (1) The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of
        Glassdoor.com from December 15-17, 2009 via the QuickQuery(SM)
        online omnibus service among  2,257 adults ages 18 and older of
        whom 1,356 were employed full time/part-time and/or self employed.
        Data were weighted using propensity score weighting to be
        representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of
        region, age within gender, education, household income,
        race/ethnicity, and propensity to be online. No estimates of
        theoretical sampling error can be calculated. A full methodology
        and complete survey results are available.

About Glassdoor.com

Glassdoor.com is a career and workplace community where anyone can find and anonymously share real-time reviews, ratings and salary details about specific jobs or interviews for specific employers -- for free. Glassdoor enables employees, job seekers, employers and recruiters to simultaneously see -- for the first time -- unedited employee and job candidate opinions about a company's work environment along with details of pay, benefits, CEO approval ratings and job interview reviews. Glassdoor was founded in 2007 and launched its public beta in June 2008. Headquartered in Sausalito, Calif., Glassdoor was founded by Richard Barton, Robert Hohman and Tim Besse and has raised $9.5 million from its founders, Benchmark Capital and Sutter Hill Ventures.