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It is a situation handled best by applying common sense, according each organization's workforce desires and the company's pay philosophy. Ask your ees what they want in the way of pay transparency is the starting point.

IMHO, you're making too big a deal of it...over analyzing it a bit too much, although your analysis is very helpful. Thanks for all the work.

Of note:

While a majority of employers do not make pay transparent, support for such a policy is strong. Nearly half (47 percent) of employers view openly disclosed salaries as positive, with 24 percent saying it ensures pay equality and 23 percent saying it can dispel wrong assumptions.

Fifty-three percent of employers view pay transparency as negative, with 42 percent citing jealousy and morale issues, 33 percent saying it violates worker privacy, and 19 percent saying it can lead to equal pay litigation.

Workers appear to be even less favorable to the idea, however. Two-thirds (65 percent) would not like it if their company openly disclosed all salaries.


PS. What continuing education course on compensation did you take and where, please? Didn't know they were available outside of W@W.

Hi Maxwell -
Thanks for your comments. I agree that engaging employees in a dialog is the way to start. Thanks for sharing the statistics from careerbuilder - very interesting!
I teach parts of a compensation course through eCornell. Since you asked, here's a link to the program: https://www.ecornell.com/certificates/human-resources/compensation-studies/

Thanks. Stephanie.

Good to see that W@W has competitors in compensation course offerings. I sometimes think they may be of of touch.

Do you use a textbook or other collection of readings, such as those in W@W's Comp Journal?

No textbook (although Milkovich is a good one if you're looking for a textbook) - I use a collection of practitioner articles, academic research papers and materials I've prepared over the years.

Excellent summary of a continually important topic, Stephanie!

Some years ago, occasional guest blogger Chris Dobyns gave a comprehensive presentation of the highly successful pay transparency process (Point B) program he introduced at his traditionally secretive massive organization. Believe it was at the Dallas WorldAtWork global conference.

Point C is more controversial and remains contentious. Meanings for "privacy" and "confidential" vary widely. What is private and confidential in one place is completely open to public examination elsewhere. That seems to be the critical area where further future discussion about professional consensus is needed.

Great discussion, and I would add that the following things are both transparent and distorting:


Magnifying glasses

2-way mirrors


the list goes on. Transparent does not mean that everyone will see things the same way. It also does not mean that the results will still not be distorted. Transparency without honest communication borders on pointless. Honest communication with limited transparency can be more effective.

I'm sorry, but the best part of this article was a student citing "generally accepted internet definition". That made me do a spit-take of my morning tea!


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