- Most employees want to know whether they're receiving fair pay for their work, according to Indeed. The jobs website examined how workers research fair pay and their views on how their pay may be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Employee viewpoints on fair pay may vary in regard to race and gender, and lack of pay transparency may dissuade job applicants, according to the report, released Jan. 21.
- One-third (33%) of workers who participated in Indeed's survey said their earning potential has been severely impacted by the pandemic, while 77% of workers said they think about money more than they did in 2019. The majority of respondents (74%) said they have conducted research about fair pay, with 22% continually researching it, according to the report. Just over a quarter (27%) of men surveyed said they're likely to conduct continuous research on fair pay, compared to 18% of women surveyed. Although more than half (66%) of workers said they received fair pay, 30% of men strongly agreed that is the case, compared to 15% of women. And while 18% of Black workers strongly disagreed they are paid fairly at their jobs, 6% of White workers strongly disagreed, according to the report.
- More than half (68%) of applicants said they are more likely to apply for a job if the salary range is listed, and 60% are more likely to apply if an employer is transparent about salary ranges for all jobs, Indeed found. However, most respondents were not transparent about their own pay. About 66% of workers said they have never shared their salaries on a job site and 60% have never asked a co-worker about pay. Men were "somewhat more likely to speak openly about pay," Indeed stated in the report. About 44% of men said they've shared salary information with a co-worker, compared to 31% of women. These differences in viewpoints "highlight the ongoing role that race and gender play in fair pay — and the importance of ensuring equal access to salary data," according to the report. The data was obtained from a December 2020 survey of 1,500 U.S. workers in various industries and career levels.
Workers in struggling industries say they are particularly concerned about fair wages or lack thereof. Almost one-third (30%) of respondents in Indeed's survey work in industries such as leisure and hospitality that have been largely reduced or eliminated by the pandemic. Many such employers implemented wage cuts, furloughs or layoffs, making wage and hour law a major component of pandemic-related litigation, Samantha Bononno, a partner at law firm Fisher Phillips wrote in a June 2020 opinion piece for HR Dive. At-will employees may be more susceptible to wage changes.
"As a general rule, employers are free to change an at-will employee's wages so long as the wages are not reduced below the federal minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the change is on a go-forward basis — employers cannot reduce an employee's wages for work already performed," Bononno wrote. "However, many states have further restrictions."
Although employees are conducting research about fair pay, sharing salary information was still taboo for 21% of those surveyed by Indeed; and 14% were concerned about getting reprimanded by supervisors for revealing pay levels.
But for companies, pay transparency is needed to address the existing gender wage gap, according to a December 2020 report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It shouldn't be expected that pay transparency will eliminate all gender differences, but it's "an effective first step" employers can take if they want to "reduce gender differences in labor-market outcomes," the report said. State and local salary history bans also aim to address this issue. Asking a job applicant to disclose past salaries "has a disproportionately negative impact on women and people of color," and fuels the wage gap, according to the National Women's Law Center.
The greater majority (82%) of workers surveyed by Indeed said they feel more engaged if they are paid fairly, and 81% said they are more productive and loyal, the report found. Fair pay and salary transparency aren't just "noble aims" for employers, "they are proven strategies to attract and retain talent," according to Indeed.