Galina Akhmerova about salary transparency: ‘Our mentality isn’t ready for such changes’

The expert evaluated an initiative of California to disclose income data, which can upend the labour market around the world

Galina Akhmerova about salary transparency: ‘Our mentality isn’t ready for such changes’
Photo: Maxim Platonov

Most companies hide their employees’ incomes, while a discussion of salaries between colleagues is considered a taboo in the workplace. Nevertheless, ideas of the necessity of introducing transparent salaries are heard from time to time at different levels. Californian authorities have launched such an initiatives — their goal is to reduce the salary gap. Specialists consider that if the bill is adopted, this can dramatically change the labour market around the world. In an op-ed column for Realnoe Vremya, founder of Darwin Modern Education Accessibility Development Fund, former top manager of BARS Group and creator of Round career guidance app for teenagers Galina Akhmerova reflects on the pros and cons of transparent salaries.

The employer has no right to disclose salaries without employees’ consent

One can see in the news that it is planned to adopt a bill on transparent salaries in California to reduce the salary gap. Experts expect other companies outside the state will follow their example too.

Let’s consider the situation from different angles. Is this applicable for our reality and is our country ready for such changes?

According to hh.ru’s studies, Russian employers don’t spell out the salary in approximately 25% of vacancies. At state level, the distribution of information about salary is prohibited by law On Personal Data. This means that the workers have the right to share the figures with whoever they want, while the employer has no right to disclose salaries without employees’ consent.

It is planned to adopt a bill on transparent salaries in California to reduce the salary gap. Photo: Henri Sivonen / wikipedia.org

Salary is also personal information, even more intimate than a phone number

A desire to level salaries of the same posts and reduce the salary gap between women and men are the main reasons for the introduction of the law on salary transparency in California. I see a number of nuances for every point because of which, I think, our mentality isn’t yet ready for such changes.

Firstly, most employers don’t want this information to be open. When cold calls are received because of a “leaked” base, we all feel displeased, and how many scandals we see when personal data from big corporations end up on the Net. The salary is also personal information, even more intimate than a phone number.

Secondly, the anxiety level in offices will significantly go up. For instance, an analyst from company A and an analyst in company B have standard functions, which means they must have the same salary. However, there are a lot of nuances: the field of the company, contractors and subordinates, everybody’s responsibility level, schedule and many other things. One cannot say how a person’s activity is labour-intensive. Moreover, as an employer it is important for me that there is a friendly atmosphere in the office, but if the financial issue is public, most will compete with each other and this can grow into a conflict.

The salary gap between sexes isn’t so topical in our country. Photo: Maxim Platonov

Money issue is one of the fundamental ones for many

Thirdly, salary gap between sexes isn’t so topical in our country. I have personally never faced such a difference in my career. I wrote in an article that a lot turns on how you position yourself, it is necessary to hold a dialogue, argument your stance.

The money issue is one of the fundamental ones for many when choosing a profession. However, I want to note that it is very hard to work only for this. When you don’t like what you do, when your eyes don’t shine when you get new tasks, every day turns into torture. I believe if people do what they like and develop their fortes, their results will be greater, consequently, the company or the sector will achieve big successes. According to surveys, the interest in a job, not the salary, is becoming more important for young specialists now. And I think this is absolutely correct. Therefore I am pleased that the app Round is related to this, and we can help the youth to choose their path.

The upcoming Round Fest: Tech, which will be in September-October 2022, will gathered different technology companies in one place, they will tell the younger generation about opportunities in this sphere.

Galina Akhmerova
Reference

The author’s opinion does not necessarily coincide with the position of Realnoe Vremya’s editorial board.

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