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Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.
According to a recent report from Salary.com, just one in four employees say their company is transparent about salaries. While keeping employee salaries under wraps is not a new practice – and discussing salary among peers has been taboo in the past – the narrative is changing as experts link pay transparency to a company’s corporate culture and more employees demand it.
There are plenty of reasons Canadians want to see pay transparency: It could increase employee retention, make employees happier, lead to fewer salary negotiations and create a culture of openness. Many advocates are also interested in seeing pay transparency help address problems around gender and racial equity.
“Women and people of colour are underpaid substantially. We know this,” Allison Venditti, founder of Moms at Work, a Canadian-based organization that advocates for women in the workforce said in a recent Globe article. “We’ve been talking about the wage gap since forever and a day, and this is one of the fastest ways to help fix that.”
“Compensation is intrinsically tied to an organization’s culture,” David Turetsky, vice-president of consulting at Salary.com, said in a statement. He went on to talk about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practices: “If you don’t establish fair and transparent pay practices that support DE&I, and clearly communicate those practices, you’ll have a hard time convincing employees your DE&I efforts are more than just window dressing. And, ultimately, you’ll face an uphill battle in earning the trust of your employees.”
But for companies, transparency goes deeper than corporate culture. Laura Machan, recruitment partner at the Toronto office of LHH, said that companies need to prepare because the federal and provincial governments are looking at pay transparency as part of their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals.
ESG is a pretty big deal. According to Forbes, it can have a positive or negative impact as it illustrates a company’s risks and opportunities while highlighting their ethics – all important metrics for external partners, internal executives and investors to consider in strategic decisions.
All that said, providing pay transparency won’t come without a lot of work. Companies often need to work with external partners and put in place a robust system to pull together all the data and applicable information to address salary variances based on a variety of factors, such as employee location and in-demand skills.
For employees, a new pay equity initiative could actually mean less pay.
While some companies figure out how they might take on this challenge, other companies and groups are on a mission to start gathering this information.
Elpha, a community for women, has created a spreadsheet that shares salaries along with key data such as location, years working, bonus, gender identity, sexual orientation and whether the individual negotiated their salary.
Levels.fyi gathers data and shares market trends for tech workers, with a focus on the top-paying companies. Its figures show company, level name, years of experience and total compensation.
While this data isn’t perfect in helping you determine whether you make as much as your peers at the same organization, it’s a great way to see whether you’re meeting industry standards, and what companies you might want to apply to.
What I’m reading around the web
- Gen Z, or those born between 1997 and 2012, will make up a significant portion of the workforce over the next few years, and they’re looking to make the world a better place, and work for a company whose values align with theirs. Here are the top 100 companies that are winning the hearts of this new cohort of workers.
- What could a fulfilling, late-in-life career look like? Researchers and workplace experts share what employees beyond the age of 60 are looking for and explore some innovative ways companies can better understand their goals, along with their need for flexibility and purpose.
- There’s a classic problem entrepreneurs face: Getting bogged down in the day-to-day. Or in other words, working in your business, instead of on your business. Here’s a few tactics you can use to prioritize the latter.
- In a time where “greenwashing” runs rampant, many consumers and companies are left wondering what it really means to be a sustainable business. To see how you’re doing, or decide which companies you truly want to buy from, consider these five key questions.
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