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Should Your Salary Be Secret?

No matter how friendly we are with our workmates, the contents of our pay packets are generally kept under wraps. But this can make negotiating your pay rise rather difficult if you have no idea how much anyone earns, which is why some campaigners are pushing for legislation that bans secrecy clauses about wages in workers' contracts. We drafted in two experts to address the issue: should your salary be a secret?
YES: 'Making salaries public breeds resentment. Let's say your co-worked tells you her salary, and she's making £4,000 more than you - for doing the same job. Your company may have valid reasons (maybe she has more qualifications), but you'll still resent it, and then how could you work well together? No wonder 89% of workers say they don't want to share their pay details. Companies should give employees a salary range for their specific jobs (that's only fair), but the exact figure should be determined by negotiating skills. Build the best case for why you should earn more based on your record. Regardless of what others makes, you have to ask for what you're worth.' Jessica Lee, senior employment manger for global strategy and PR firm APCO Worldwide
NO: 'Men in the UK earn an average of £16.07 per hour but women earn only £13.43. This is a gender pay gap of over 16% and in financial services it's even wider, at 55%. This disparity means that women are not only more like to be living in poverty, but are less able to save for a pension. A woman has to prove she's being paid unfairly before she can make a claim. But how can she prove she's being paid unfairly if she doesn't know what her colleagues earn? There should be more transparency. There's a taboo around discussing pay, but if transparency were part of the general culture, then chatting about it with your workmates wouldn't be so much of a problem. Being open flushes out unfairness.' Sharon Smee, campaigns & policy officer to equality group The Fawcett Society.


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