SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – According to Sarah Foster, more young workers are talking openly about their salaries than ever before. She also says this may not be a bad thing
ABC4 spoke with Sarah Foster, an economic analyst from Bankrate, about her findings on how younger workers are more likely to speak openly with each other about how much money they make. Foster reports that “42% of Generation Z workers and 40% of Millennials have shared their salary information with a coworker or other professional contact, compared with 31% of Gen Xers and 19% of Baby Boomers.”
While this may seem to some readers like the violation of an unspoken taboo in workplace conduct, Foster says that it can increase pay transparency.
“One of the most impactful reasons why sharing your salary is powerful is because it helps you make sure you’re being paid fairly,” says Foster.
Foster says that her findings are not likely explained by a sense of entitlement or laziness among younger workers. Conversely, Foster argues that younger workers’ “own experiences in wealth building after two major recessions” has made them hyper-aware of pay equity and wage gaps, including between different generations.
Foster also says that these experiences in living through two recessions are made further salient by record-high inflation in the U.S., which gives Millennial and Gen Z workers a sense of urgency in their goals to receive adequate pay.
Continuing, Foster says the kind of collective financial trauma that young workers have gone through has led to a more collective attitude about wages.
“We generally see that, overall, Millennials and Gen Z want equal pay for the broader workforce, and only good can come from that,” says Foster. Foster also thinks that keeping salaries secret doesn’t really benefit anyone.
Foster emphasizes there is a “time and place” for open conversations about salary, and her article offers tips on conducting these conversations in a productive way. For example, Foster recommends sharing details about salary outside of the workplace and between coworkers who already have a close relationship. She also says these conversations should only happen if both parties feel comfortable having them.
For Foster, conversations about equal pay are only the first step. Effective research into salaries of positions is also important, according to Foster. Furthermore, Foster gives tips to readers about how to negotiate effectively with your employer or future employer about salary.
Armed with data about Millennial and Gen Z pay raises year to year, Foster says it’s no wonder why younger workers jump from job to job so frequently. The urgency of younger generations’ economic woes means that job-hopping can provide faster results in a market with a high demand for labor, says Foster.
Foster also contends that wage inequality is not workers’ fault, and that companywide transparency about salaries can help alleviate economic stress on young workers and ensure a fairer work environment.