Is it time for everyone to know what their colleagues earn?

by Matt Grimshaw
July 24, 2017

In my opinion the BBC is deservedly getting a kicking after being forced to reveal the salaries of its top stars.

I’m not convinced that anyone should earn a £500k+ salary from what is effectively ‘public’ money, but what’s completely indefensible is the discrimination the data has revealed. The BBC has female presenters working alongside male counterparts who earn significantly higher salaries.

The gender pay gap for full-time workers in the UK is roughly 10%.

Imagine you’re working in a team of 10. You all have the same level of skill and experience. You all produce the same amount, but half the team gets paid 10% less — effectively they’re working a day for free every fortnight! Why would anyone put up with this?!

Personally, I wouldn’t want to be a male worker earning more than an equally qualified female doing the same work. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a female worker getting paid less just because I was a woman.

So what should be done… well I’m a big believer in internal pay transparency. Everyone should know what their colleagues earn. It might not close the pay gap in itself, but it would force companies to confront the discrimination head on and have open, honest conversations with their employees. Letting companies hide behind a veil of secrecy has allowed a profound unfairness to persist within most organisations.

I know people value their privacy, but I would ask: Why don’t you want your colleagues to know how much you earn? Don’t you think they already have a pretty good idea anyway? And does your desire for privacy outweigh the concern that women are being discriminated against?

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