Money, politics, religion. All things your parents may have told you never to talk about. But times have changed.And talking about money — and your salary, in particular — could help you unlock greater earning potential. Because if you don’t know how much you could be making, you can’t ask for it. Which contributes to income inequality.
Wait. What does talking about salaries have to do with inequality?
A lot of the financial inequalities facing people (see: gaps in homeownership, student debt, and overall wealth) have ties to unequal pay. And pay transparency can help fix that. Because knowing how much your company pays you vs. your coworkers and how that measures up to the rest of your industry can help you determine if you’re being paid fairly. And if you should seek a raise or a higher-paying position.
Got it. So who am I talking to?
The whole world doesn’t need to know how much you make. (Though sharing on social media can help normalize pay transparency and help other people examine their own income.) But there are a few people in your life who it’s a good idea to share your salary with.
The people you work with are a great place to start. Because there’s power in numbers. And if you spot some fishy trends at your own company (think: men being paid more than women for similar work), you’ll have a built-in team to seek a remedy. Psst…we Skimm’d how to talk to your coworkers about salary.
Your significant other.
If you’re in a serious relationship, you should probably plan a money talk. Even if you’re not planning to combine your finances, it’s helpful to know where each person stands on financial matters to avoid money conflicts down the road.
That probably means at least having an idea of how much money your partner makes. You can’t budget for a future together if you don’t know how much each person can actually afford. Plus talking about your career aspirations can help you learn how to best support each other.
If your BFFs aren’t your coworkers, it can be helpful to chat with them about salary too. Because normalizing salary talk with the people you trust the most can make it easier for you to talk about it when it matters (hi, salary negotiation). Plus, it’s a great way to explore different industries to see how your pay measures up.
If at the end of all these conversations, there’s a voice in your head saying, “I deserve more,” listen to it. Whether you’re thinking about asking for a raise or quitting your job for a better opportunity, the first step is knowing that you’re worth those extra dollars.
And what are the risks?
Although millennials are more down to talk about money than previous generations, it can still be a touchy subject for people. And know that your employer cannot legally take action against you for trading salary info with your coworkers.
But there is a thing called the “ambition penalty.” Aka when women are seen as aggressive and demanding while negotiating…and less likely than men to actually receive the raises and promotions they've requested.
Like any tough conversation, approach your salary talks with good intentions and respect for your peers. And don’t forget to let them know you’re willing to share too.
Talking about your salary used to be taboo. Which has helped the gender and racial wage gaps persist.Get comfortable sharing your salary info with friends and trusted peers so you can better understand the pay you deserve and feel more confident asking for it. And close these gaps.
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