Question: I work for a large professional company, where it has long been suspected that male colleagues are paid more than female colleagues. We’ve all heard whispers in the staff room for years, and now my female colleagues have decided to take matters into their own hands.
hey created a ‘wage transparency’ document and sent it to all employees. The idea is for people to declare what they earn, but I’m not sure I want to participate. I think it can lead to resentment among employees and cause more trouble than it should be.
I also suspect I am making more money than my female colleagues. I really got into the salary negotiation process and earned €8,000 more than they originally offered. I haven’t told my co-workers this yet and I’m not sure I have to.
What should I do?
Answer: While transparency has become a buzzword in the workplace in recent years, openly discussing pay remains a sensitive topic. For the most part, people don’t like to talk about money, and for every worker who believes in complete pay transparency, there’s another who doesn’t even tell their best friend what they earn.
Your coworker seems like she’s definitely at the old camp. She is well aware of the gender pay gap in Ireland, which currently stands at around 14 percentage points, and the Gender Pay Gap Information Act 2021, which will require employers to disclose approximately pay gap between male and female employees in their organization.
This legislation is a sign of progress, but perhaps your colleague would rather address pay inequality in your organization than wait for a report highlighting the larger ongoing issues. out.
In other words, perhaps she’d rather see a truly transparent paycheck list than a vague annual report on gender equality lip service payments.
I’ve shared your dilemma with several experts, including Dublin-based Positive Prospects career coach Ciara Spillane. She says there’s a good reason your co-workers might feel there’s a pay disparity within your organization. However, while she supports the idea of salary transparency, she’s not sure your colleague’s documentation is the right way to go about it.
“I understand this worker’s reluctance to contribute to this spreadsheet,” she said. “The salary is usually kept private and it is completely fair that she may not feel comfortable sharing the information with all of her colleagues.
“It is unfortunate that female employees need to deal with this on their own and their employers are not transparent about pay information,” she added. “Under Ireland’s Gender Wage Disparity Information Act 2021, companies with more than 250 employees will be obligated to share their gender pay gap reports this year. Over the next few years, all companies with more than 50 employees will be included and need to publish their figures.”
In this particular situation, Spillane thinks it might be better for you to explain to a colleague that you’re uncomfortable sharing salary details, but instead suggest that they talk to their manager. company.
“The group should ask their employers to share information about any gender pay gap, how it occurs, and what the company plans to do to address it. If this is a large company, as readers suggest, they will soon need to share this information.”
Dublin-based strategic career consultant Rowan Manahan, with whom I also shared your dilemma, has a different view. He assumes that your hesitation is based on two assumptions – “I think that might lead to resentment…” and “I suspect I am making more money…” – according to him, yes. may or may not be correct.
“You have to balance those assumptions with the certainty that your non-participation will be seen by your colleagues as promoting the status quo and you will be seen as siding with management – if there is a perception that there is a pay gap. between the sexes. within your organization – or more dangerously you just work for yourself,” he said.
Manahan thinks you should contribute to the documentation. “Who knows, maybe you are a few thousand below the standard for your qualifications. Maybe you just think your negotiation skills are better than all of your peers,” he said.
On the other hand, if your salary is significantly higher than a colleague’s, it could start an important conversation about the ‘negotiation gap’. Research shows that women are less likely to initiate salary negotiations than men, and while progressive companies like Reddit and Coinbase have banned salary negotiations, that continues to pose a distinct challenge to women at work.
This is the point that WorkEqual founder Sonya Lennon made when I shared your dilemma with her.
“I think transparency is really important to change attitudes around pay and equality, so what her colleagues are trying to do is really good and something that will be promoted. by gender pay gap reporting,” she said.
“But I also think she might be looking at this the wrong way. In fact, she did a really good thing by negotiating a really good deal for herself. She models good behavior for her female employees, so instead of being embarrassed about what she did, she should be very proud of it and can offer some tips on how to negotiate. hard and how to achieve your value.
“In the dark is shame and that’s why she feels like this. So I think if she owns it, shares it and spreads it around, things will be so much better.”
If you have a dilemma, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/modern-morals-my-fellow-female-colleagues-want-pay-transparency-but-i-think-i-get-paid-more-than-them-41459449.html Modern Ethics: My female colleagues want transparent payments, but I think I get paid more than them