Do you know what your colleagues are earning? You should

While you might be operating under the assumption that it’s rude to talk about money, if you’re not discussing your salary with your co-workers, you could be doing yourself—and your bank balance—a disservice. 

While lots has been done in recent years—at both a legislative and cultural level—to address the persistence of the gender pay gap, it seems there’s a lot more work to be done. 

In the U.S., the gender pay gap has barely shifted in the last 20 years and American women still earn 84 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts, close to the same figure of 82 cents that was being reported in 2002. 

This is despite the fact that the pay gap is less pronounced with younger workers—those aged 25 to 34 in 2010 were more likely to have achieved pay parity, averaging 92 cents for every dollar earned by men their age. 

However by 2022, the same group of women were only earning 84 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. 

Paying it forward

Several states including California and New York have made it illegal to post a job vacancy without stipulating the salary in an effort to give more transparency around pay and here in Europe, the EU Pay Transparency Directive comes into force in June 2023. 

Under the directive, all EU member states will be required to conduct and publish gender pay-gap reporting, there will be a ban on pay secrecy, and employees and job candidates will be able to request salary information. Companies will have until June 2026 to implement the new rules.

Apart from scratching your curiosity itch, there are many tangible benefits to knowing what your colleagues earn. 

Pay transparency results in a more collaborative and motivated workforce, while additional research from Gartner has found that candidates are more likely to want to work for companies that are transparent around pay meaning they have a competitive edge in attracting top talent. 

“61% of workers said they would like to know colleagues’ salaries”

These findings align with recent data compiled by Jobbio as part of our Jobbio Work Happy Index 2024. We asked survey respondents if they would like to know what their colleagues are earning, and a whopping 61.28% of workers said they would like to know. 

So, how can you effectively broach the subject without causing offence? For starters, it’s worth bearing in mind that talking about salary with a colleague you aren’t close to probably isn’t the best way to go about things. Instead, ask someone you have a good working relationship with if they would be comfortable discussing salary with you as you’re not sure you’re being paid the same as others. 

Alternatively, if you don’t want to ask them outright what they’re being paid, you could always ask them to help you benchmark your salary against industry standards or any information they may have about salaries within the company. This will keep things vague but will give you a good understanding of what others at your level are being paid. 

Want to access more workplace insights? Check out all our Jobbio Work Happy Index 2024 insights or get a more in-depth understanding on some of the most divisive topics in the workplace including whether or not you should be allowed to work from home when it rains and the real cost of a four-day week


We evaluated survey respondents from our database of working professionals. Our goal is to identify attitudes around working models, benefits, AI and job applications in 2024.

Our findings from 514 individuals surveyed in May 2024 has provided insights for this report.

Author Aoibhinn McBride

More posts by Aoibhinn McBride

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