- Pay transparency is common among employees and organizations in creative industries, according to a new study from The Creative Group. Seventy-seven percent of advertising and marketing hiring managers said their organizations offer some degree of pay transparency, and 34% offer full transparency, its survey showed.
- The Creative Group classified pay transparency as: full transparency, whereby wage and salary information on every employee is available and disclosed both internally and externally; near full transparency, whereby information is available on each employee and only disclosed internally; and partial transparency, whereby information is disclosed for select positions internally and externally.
- The online survey of 400 advertising and marketing hiring decision makers found that the greatest advantage of pay transparency is that it can uncover pay disparities. In other survey results, 70% of respondents said they would be at least “somewhat comfortable” sharing their earnings with co-workers at their level if asked, and a near equal number felt the same about sharing their salaries with external professional and personal contacts. Managers were most opposed to disclosing pay details to their subordinates, The Creative Group showed.
Employers have opposed workers talking openly about their pay in the past. Sixty percent of tech workers in a 2018 survey said their organizations discouraged open discussions about pay in the workplace. Not all employees are comfortable with others knowing what they earn; according to 2018 research from UCLA and Harvard Business School, 80% of workers would pay to keep co-workers from learning their salaries.
Platforms like Glassdoor have popularized the trend toward greater pay transparency, but another contributing factor could be increased spotlight on race- and gender-based pay disparities across the board. Fourteen states and 12 municipalities have passed some form of a salary history ban, which proponents of the laws say can help women and people of color overcome historic disparities in their pay that employers would otherwise rely on to keep pay low. Amazon is one employer that has banned the practice within its organization.
Employers that continue to discourage open discussions about pay risk running afoul with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, whose list of protected worker activities includes asking about pay to uncover potentially discriminatory pay practices. To avoid pay discrepancies, HR managers may want to review their compensation practices, flag any disparities, use compensation reports for setting pay ranges and work with managers to ensure that raises and other pay-related decisions are unbiased.