Ending Pay Secrecy: Why Keeping Salaries a Secret Leads to Disengagement and Decreased Performance, and How Revealing Pay Information Can Actually Increase Performance

David Burkus

March 16, 2016

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"Do you know how your pay compares to your peers? Probably not. You probably don't talk about it much. Most Americans are more comfortable talking about their sex lives than their salary lives. And most employers are happy to keep that secrecy going. According to a 2011 report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, about half of American workers said that discussing salary information is either discouraged or outright prohibited. The assumed reason behind these prohibitions is that if everybody knew what everybody got paid, then all hell would break loose. There would be complaints. There would be arguments. There might even be a few people who quit. But what if secrecy is actually the reason for the strife, and what would happen if we removed that secrecy?"

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