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July 19, 2022

Would you reveal your salary? Each generation's answer, charted.

Daily Briefing

    While older workforce generations are generally against sharing information about their specific earnings and bonuses, America's youngest workers believe that pay transparency could lead to better equity in pay, according to the latest edition of LinkedIn's Workforce Confidence survey.

    How should you respond to employees talking about their salaries?

    Survey details and key findings

    For the latest edition of the Workforce Confidence survey, LinkedIn polled 4,778 U.S. members from June 4 to June 17, 2022.

    The survey included a random sample of U.S.-based LinkedIn members who opted into research. To gain an accurate representation of the current workforce, students, stay-at-home partners, and retired individuals were excluded from the analysis.

    According to the survey, America's youngest workers generally believed that widespread pay transparency could lead to better pay equity, while older generations were resistant to the idea.

    In particular, 81% of Gen Z respondents (age 25 or younger) agreed that pay transparency could lead to better pay equality—the highest support of any generation—while 75% of millennials (ages 26 to 41) supported the idea.

    In comparison, 47% of Gen X workers (ages 42 to 57) agreed with the statement, and just 28% of baby boomers (ages 58 to 76) said they supported pay transparency.

    Each workplace generation also had different opinions on who they felt comfortable discussing their pay information with—if anyone.

    Across all age groups, the Workforce Confidence survey found respondents are most comfortable sharing their pay information with family members.

    Notably, there were large gaps between each generation's willingness to share pay information with a work colleague. While 32% of Gen Z workers said they would be comfortable sharing pay information with a coworker, just 9% of baby boomers were willing. In addition, 24% of millennials said they would feel comfortable opening up to a trusted colleague, compared with just 17% of Gen X workers.

    Meanwhile, 34% of Gen Z workers said they would share pay information with anyone who asked, only 4% for boomers would do so. Ultimately, 25% of baby boomers said they would not be willing to share pay information with anyone—a stark contrast from just 4% of Gen Z respondents. 

    According to research recently cited by Quartz, pay differentials generally shrink after salary information is disclosed.

    Several studies suggest that increased pay transparency can shrink pay gaps that place women at a disadvantage, relative to men. Pay transparency can also shrink disparities between workers who are white, able-bodied, and straight, compared with those who are not.

    Ultimately, pay transparency "really helps to close the gender pay gap and remove discrimination opportunities that women and people of color face," said Hannah Williams, who runs a popular TikTok  page called Salary Transparent Street. (Anders, LinkedIn, 7/13)

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