Younger Generations More Likely To Share Salary Info — Why This Is Welcome Trend for Equal Pay

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There has been an increasing push for pay transparency recently, notably to reduce gender pay inequality in the workplace. However, a new GOBankingRates survey found that not everyone is comfortable sharing information about earnings, and age is a large factor in the decision.

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GOBankingRates surveyed over 1,000 U.S. adults and asked if they have talked to their closest friends or co-workers about how much money they make. While the majority across all age groups said they had not, younger generations were much more likely to have discussed salary with others. Here’s a look at the age breakdown.

Gen Z Is Most Likely To Have Discussed Salary With Friends and Colleagues

When asked, “Have you asked your closest friends how much money they make?,” 37% of Americans ages 18 to 24 said they had. That percentage declines as age increases: 27% of Americans ages 25 to 34, 25% of Americans ages 35 to 44, 17% of Americans ages 45 to 54, 14% of Americans ages 55 to 64 and just 4% of Americans ages 65 and older said they had asked their closest friends how much money they make.

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A similar age-related decline in salary transparency among co-workers was found. When asked, “Have you asked co-workers how much money they make?,” 39% of Americans ages 18 to 24 said they had, compared to 30% of Americans ages 25 to 34, 24% of Americans ages 35 to 44, 14% of Americans ages 45 to 54, 12% of Americans ages 55 to 64 and 4% of Americans ages 65 and older.

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Gen Z Views Salary Transparency as a Way To Combat Pay Inequality

A separate survey conducted by LinkedIn Pulse shed some light on why Gen Z is more willing to discuss salary with others. It found that 81% of respondents in Gen Z believe that sharing their earnings information will lead to better equality in pay, compared to 75% support from millennials and 47% for Generation X.

Meanwhile, only 28% of baby boomers say it will lead to better equality, with 42% entirely disagreeing with the premise.

Jeanniey Walden, chief innovation officer at DailyPay, told GOBankingRates that “knowledge is power.”

“Younger members of the workforce view pay transparency as a critical way to determine the commitment their employer is making toward them and their future with the company,” Walden said. “Gen Z and millennials also crave and receive real-time transparency into everything, including their earnings, to gauge their own personal spending power. This transparency speaks to the shift in the relationship between employer and employee where open communication and honesty has become paramount.”

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These findings also align with the 2022 Compensation and Culture Report from compensation software company Beqom, which found that in the U.S., candidates reported that if job descriptions were transparent about the benefits and perks offered (81%) and salary range of the role (79%), they were more likely to apply.

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Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates surveyed 1,004 Americans ages 18 and older from across the country between July 21 and July 24, 2022, asking nine different questions: (1) How much do you tip when restaurant service is bad?; (2) How much do you tip when restaurant service is good?; (3) How much do you typically spend on a wedding gift?; (4) When going out to dinner with a large group, how do you split the check?; (5) Have you asked your closest friends how much money they make?; (6) Have you asked co-workers how much money they make?; (7) If you loan a family member money, do you expect them to actually pay it back?; (8) Have you ever hidden a large purchase from your partner or spouse?; and (9) Which service workers do you regularly tip? (Select all that apply). GOBankingRates used PureSpectrum’s survey platform to conduct the poll.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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