Thirty percent of Americans between 18 and 36 years old discuss how much money they make with their coworkers, according to a new Cashlorette study. The same study found 63% share their salaries with immediate family.
Thirty-three percent of older millennials (27-36) share their salary with their colleagues — more than any other group. Meanwhile, only 8% of baby boomers (ages 53-71) disclose their pay with coworkers. Seventy-one percent of baby boomers, however, share what they make with their significant other. Princeton Survey Research Associates conducted the survey with 1,001 US adults.
Higher earners are more likely to share their salaries with friends and family, while those who earn $30,000 or less are most likely to discuss their salaries with coworkers. Millennials are still relatively new to the workforce, so they may feel more comfortable disclosing their salaries — for now.
“We’re definitely seeing more transparency when it comes to salaries. And, it’s likely for the better. Knowing what your friends and colleagues make in a similar field is empowering. [It helps you] gauge when it might be time to move on or request a raise,” said Sarah Berger, author of the report.
The taboo topic
Just this week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that prohibits employers from seeking salary history of potential employees. Similar legislation went into effect in Oregon and New York City. Delaware, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Puerto Rico and San Francisco are phasing in bans.
Proponents of these kinds of laws argue they are a step closer toward ending wage discrimination, allowing individuals, particularly women, to get paid based on merit, not previous salary.
“The practice of seeking or requiring the salary history of job applicants helps perpetuate wage inequality that has spanned generations of women in the workforce. AB 168 is a step to ensure that my 9-year-old daughter, and all women, can be confident that their pay will be based on their abilities and not their gender,” said Stockton Assemblymember Susan Eggman, who wrote the bill.
The more transparent colleagues are with one another, the more they can educate themselves about how much they should be making.
If you don’t want to open up at work, that’s OK, too. There are plenty of options that give you a peek into competitive rates for your role. Free resources like Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth, Payscale, Fairygodboss and Comparably can help you determine whether you’re getting a fair wage.
Melody Hahm is a writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.