This is a topic that is debated and often leaves people feeling a bit uneasy - should you share your salary with your friends? I'm here to tell you how it has benefited my career.
I can’t pretend that sharing salary is easy - I was raised to never discuss it and was told that it was uncouth to share the amount of money I was making. When I do discuss it, I still feel my face flush, but openly discussing salary with friends has helped all of us understand where we sit in our industries and positions. Though our type of roles, industries, and responsibilities vary, we can find comparison spots. Working together and supporting one another during salary negotiations and promotions has been incredibly helpful.
Young people and new graduates should share their salaries, since facing the beginning of their career path. It's challenging to know where you rank in salary based on your (minimal) years of experience, your education, and your skills. Sharing your salary and any job offers you have allows you to properly evaluate if you're getting a fair offer or if you need to negotiate (or walk away). Too often, young people do not have the confidence to fight for what they're worth. Only 38% of new graduates negotiate an offer, and many more should. Knowing what your friends are getting offered, especially if they're in your industry or field, will help you navigate the murky waters of early stage career negotiations.
It’s especially important for women to share salaries. With so much discussion surrounding the wage gap, with women earning $0.69-$0.87 cents to the dollar of men depending on the type of work, knowing where you sit amongst your peers is key to achieving the correct salary. How are you to know you should be earning 25% more if you don’t know what comparative roles and industry workers are earning? You may be surprised to know that amongst my friends, women have negotiated far larger salaries or raises than any of the men. We vent to each other about issues we are facing in the workplace and then we take that advice and go in charging to handle whatever it is we need to.
Sharing my salary with friends, and hearing what their salaries are, has helped me better understand my value in the workplace, what my responsibilities are worth, and how impactful my projects are. Without having an understanding of where others have strengths that we want to acquire and what those skills are worth, it can feel a bit like you're navigating the workplace blind (even if you do rely on Payscale and other online tools to help). Though it can feel like bragging to talk about salary or like a sin to inquire, don't be afraid. Your friends have supported you through everything - career is just the next step.