Continuing the conversation over making salaries public
The public sharing of employee salary levels continues to make headlines. The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) sought out expertise from Dr. Stephanie R. Thomas, program director, Institute for Compensation Studies at Cornell University’s ILR School, to put salary transparency into a broader context.
During the week of August 10, 2015, Thomas shared insights on pay transparency and pay equity on more than 20 CBC radio programs, spanning from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Toronto, Ontario, to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, to Vancouver, British Columbia.
More specifically, Dr. Thomas addressed the recent grassroots experiment in extreme salary transparency launched by Erica Baker, a former Google engineer. Ms. Baker and her former colleagues at Google circulated a spreadsheet in which Google employees voluntarily disclosed their names, job titles, and annual salaries.
“This is certainly one of the most extreme examples of salary sharing that I have seen,” said Thomas. “While I see the potential value of this type of disclosure to identifying and remedying instances of compensation discrimination, publishing personally identifiable salary information is not without its risks. I think we need to carefully consider whether this is what we mean when we talk about pay transparency.”
The Institute for Compensation Studies has been tapped for commentary on pay transparency repeatedly, often as it related to gender pay equity. For some of these related stories, see:
Making pay transparency work: ICS experts provide insight. HR media taps ICS’ Thomas, Barrington on pay transparency.