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Study finds Gen Z more likely to share salary information

A report from LinkedIn indicates that young people are more willing to discuss salary information with peers than older generations.

We’ve all been subject to a money conversation at least once in our lifetimes.

Whether it’s a discussion on bonuses or a heated debate over minimum wage, everyone is affected by cash and economics one way or another.

Our salaries are a deeply personal societal taboo, historically treated with secrecy and discomfort by older peers and millennial workforces.

That may be changing, however. A report by LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index has found that young people are more likely to be transparent with friends and co-workers about how much money they earn compared to older employees.

In fact, 81% of Gen Z respondents to the survey said they see honesty as being good for pay equality, while only 27% of Boomers agreed. 35% of Gen Zers were willing to share pay information to anyone who asked, while only 4% of Boomers would do the same.

9% of Boomers would share their salary information with co-workers, compared to almost a third of Generation Z. By comparison, 24% of Millennials and 17% of Gen X said the same, making young people most likely to be open with their colleagues.

Allwork pointed out that a study from Deloitte recently found Gen Z to value their salary less than every other generation, indicating that money may not be as huge of a motivator for young employees. It may also show that self-identity isn’t as intrinsically tied to earnings as it has been in the past.

It’s not hugely surprising to learn that Gen Z are more likely to share information on their pay.

After all, this is a generation who’ve grown up with economic turmoil, an extremely competitive job market, and a growing wealth gap.

Younger people understand that there is power in communication, and a greater chance of salary negotiation when all employees are on the same page. Transparency can lead to better pay equality, fairer standards, and minimises the likelihood of exploitation.

According to a study by Quartz at Work, the gender pay gap was reduced by 45% in companies that were open with salary data compared to ones that did not disclose any. Inequality in pay also dropped 20%.

It’s worth keeping in mind that Gen Z are also more likely to hop between employers, which likely leads to less brand loyalty and a greater drive for individual success. If open salary conversations lead to improved working conditions for lower paid employees, Gen Z are set to benefit.

In addition, the study found that workforce leaders are especially unlikely to share salary information. From the Workforce Confidence Index published in August, nearly a quarter of 19,000 polled senior leaders said they wouldn’t share pay information with anybody. This includes family and friends.

So, the data makes it clear – Gen Z are open to discussing pay. It helps to understand where they fit on the employee ladder, gives life perspective compared to friends, and may even be a motivator to continue working hard and pursuing a more fruitful career. This is good news for employees and unions.

It’ll likely be a headache for all those secretive CEOs with big bonuses and hefty pay packages. Times are changing.