- A majority of employees responding to a recent Salary.com survey said their employer isn't transparent about pay — and that they don't feel they can ask questions about salary. Sixty-three percent of respondents said as much in the December 2021 survey of 561 workers. Of the 49% of respondents who had asked their manager how their pay is determined, half said their manager tried to answer but couldn't to their satisfaction, and another 16% said their manager was unable to answer the question at all.
- In addition to issues related to transparency, the survey showed a plurality of employees are skeptical about their pay in relation to others at their company or in their industry. Thirty-seven percent of respondents did not think they were paid fairly compared to colleagues (compared to 34% who felt they were and 29% who had "no idea"), and 46% did not think they were paid fairly compared to people in the same role at other companies (compared to 27% who felt they were and 27% who did not know).
- "There is an abundant lack of pay transparency in Corporate America," said David Turetsky, vice president of consulting at Salary.com, in a statement. "When we surveyed HR professionals in the fall of 2021, only 35 percent had established a pay philosophy that supports pay transparency, so these employee results are, unfortunately, not surprising."
While companies have made strides on many elements of DEI prioritization and goal-setting, widespread pay transparency — often considered a crucial element of pay equity — faces an uphill battle in the U.S.
In December, Salary.com released findings from a survey of HR professionals, which found more than a third of respondents (37%) said their organization struggled to address pay equity. Compared to other factors involved, respondents overwhelmingly cited a lack of support from leadership as the primary reason for that struggle.
Just as relevant, 64% of respondents said they felt increased pressure to address pay equity — a sign that the issue may be moving to the forefront of HR discussions. One expert recently told HR Dive that pay transparency and pay equity would likely be a trending topic in the HR space in 2022. Partly due to its link with DEI and partly due to the current worker's market, the subject is gaining traction.
HR professionals can get senior leaders on board by emphasizing the way pay transparency can strengthen a company's value proposition, a senior compensation consultant from Salary.com recently wrote for HR Dive. Organizations that have not done so can start the move toward transparency by conducting a pay audit.