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Experts say disclosing your salary is crucial for better wages, but American workers still don’t want coworkers to know how much they earn

Many Americans prefer to avoid sharing how much they make.

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  • Experts have long encouraged workers to be transparent about their pay.
  • According to new data from a LinkedIn study, sharing salary information is not yet prevalent.
  • The job site’s recent survey found that only 16% of participants share pay details with coworkers.

The experts are clear when it comes to whether you should disclose your salary: Information is power. But according to new data from LinkedIn, many American workers are still reluctant to talk about how much money they earn. 

Millennials in the workplace have long been viewed as a cohort that is more open about salary information than their predecessors. Over the years, a number of companies, like Whole Foods Market, even followed the trend around transparent pay, encouraging internal conversations about salaries among workers.

Some TikTok creators, like Hannah Williams, have encouraged followers to share their salary information, as a means of empowerment. The idea is that salary transparency aids individuals who are being underpaid and encourages workers to know the worth of their labor.

However, a new report from LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index indicates that this approach may not yet be mainstream. LinkedIn senior editor at large George Anders writes that, based on a 2022 survey of 4,778 US professionals, LinkedIn found only 16% share their salaries with trusted coworkers. That number ticked slightly higher, to 18%, when it came to mentors and trusted peers at other companies. 

These workers tended to be more open with personal connections than colleagues. Over half of respondents, 56%, said they shared their salary with family members. And 32% said they’d share their pay details with close friends.

Outlier groups in the survey included those who’d tell anyone their salary, or 11% of participants, and the 17% of respondents who keep mum about their pay to everyone.

The data flies in the face of other findings, which have indicated that salary transparency is viewed in an increasingly positive light in the workplace. Experts have long touted the advantages of salary sharing. Namely, knowing how much your coworkers earn could prevent you from being underpaid. In 2015, a Glassdoor study found that 70% of respondents in seven countries believed that pay transparency boosted employee satisfaction.

But as with any piece of career advice, acknowledging the benefits of a notion is one thing, and being willing to take the plunge and put that idea into practice is another thing entirely. 

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