- Most workers (82%) know their worth in the labor market, and less than half think they're paid an appropriate amount, according to the Robert Half 2020 Salary Guides. Survey respondents appear more savvy about their compensation, with 73% reporting that they compared their salary against online market rates, salary guides or job postings in the last 12 months and 54% admitting that they shared salary information with co-workers. The Salary Guides compiled data from 1,000 U.S. workers and 2,800 workers in 28 U.S. markets.
- In other findings, 57% of the respondents said they believe a stronger economy helped their earning capacity. Of those who didn't believe the economy helped their salary, 34% said their company offered only small pay increases, and 31% said they would have to leave their job to see a significant pay raise. More men than women felt knowledgeable about their monetary worth, and half of women think they're underpaid, compared to 41% of men, Robert Half said.
- According to Robert Half, most respondents who talked salary with colleagues did nothing with this information, but 28% of respondents used the findings to ask for a raise.
With more access to pay information online, workers are more knowledgeable about their worth in the labor market. Today workers can find pay rates on certain job boards, compare salaries with fellow workers and quit their jobs for better-paying opportunities — especially in an employee-driven market. In Mercer's 2019 Global Talent Trends Study, 20% of respondents said they would quit their jobs for higher-paying ones elsewhere. Among HR leaders in the same study, however, only 6% said they thought noncompetitive salaries drove workers to quit.
With so much compensation data available, employer pay transparency may help build employees' trust while keeping turnover in check. Experts say employers should decide what kinds of pay information and how much pay information to disclose. "Many external factors are putting pressure on employers to be more transparent about compensation," Paul Hastings Partner Felicia Davis previously told HR Dive. "Employees are asking more questions, shareholder groups are asking employers to be more transparent, and foreign countries are asking for more information to be reported."
As for how much compensation data to disclose, Davis said employers can be transparent about their overall compensation philosophy and how they set compensation — as well as how they evaluate performance, salary increases and bonuses — without revealing what every employee earns on a spreadsheet.