Few people turn up to work not expecting to get paid. We exchange our valuable time with our bosses and managers in order to get our hands on cold, hard dosh at the end of the month.
Yet, as Gillian Ku, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at London Business School wrote in The Financial Times, most of us feel uncomfortable asking for more money – even when we think we’re worth it.
Ku wrote: “There are many reasons for this but perhaps the most important one is that employees often lack information: we do not know how much we are worth, how much others are paid, how much employers are willing to pay us.”
In the UK, this lack of information could be, in part at least, due to conversations about pay being uncomfortable.
A recent Neyber study found that most people would rather talk about the partisan subject of politics, or even sex, than reveal their financial situation. In a Guardian feature piece on the subject, one worker defended this practise:
“It’s a British thing which I am proud of – it seems crassly materialistic to discuss money in detail with acquaintances, or even friends.”
Yet, there are undeniable movements to make discussions of pay more transparent. Earlier this year, certain firms had to publish data on gender pay gaps and, anecdotally at least, there seems to be a tad less reticence on the subject.
Consider the vogueish slew of ‘revelationary’ articles on certain individuals take-home pay. The Guardian, Refinery29 and occasionally Metro online do types of these article – but it’s not widespread, and their reasoning is questionable.
In Sweden, Norway and Finland you can look up anyone’s salary online – which gives employee’s ammunition when negotiating a potential rise.
Yet, information and transparency aren’t the only weapons to put in your arsenal when asking for better pay.
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