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New Visier Report Reveals 79% of Employees Want Pay Transparency

Visier’s survey also found that job seekers want salary ranges disclosed in the hiring process, and that vast generational differences exist when discussing salary in the workplace

Visier, the globally recognized leader in people analytics and on-demand answers for people-powered business, revealed new research on pay transparency. With upcoming amendments to the New York City Human Rights Law that will require companies to disclose salary ranges in job postings starting in May 2022, Visier’s report unlocks a greater understanding of employees’ feelings about and experiences with the growing trend of salary transparency.

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The study, Pay Transparency Pulse Report, surveyed 1,000 full-time, U.S.-based full-time employees, and found that today’s job seekers and employees overwhelmingly prefer pay transparency –– and there are advantages for employers who provide the benefit. 79% of all survey respondents want some form of pay transparency and 32% want total transparency, in which all employee salaries are publicized. Visier’s survey also found that 68% of employees would switch employers for greater pay transparency, even if compensation was the same.

“Though the concept of pay transparency has been around for a while, it started gaining more momentum among legislators, advocates, younger generations, and the media over the past few years, thanks to the ease of access to compensation data on the Internet,” said Andrea Derler, Ph.D. and Head of Research at Visier. “Our data shows that the overwhelming majority of both employees and job seekers want salary transparency, signaling a significant shift from the traditional belief that pay is a taboo subject in our personal and professional lives.”

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Additional key findings from Visier’s report include:

  • There’s a clear generational gap in comfort level when it comes to discussing salary in the workplace. While the majority (70%) of respondents are somewhat comfortable or very comfortable discussing salary at work, this jumps to 89% for Gen Z and drops to 53% for Baby Boomers. But just because employees are comfortable discussing pay, doesn’t mean it is always a positive experience: 41% of respondents across all generations have had a negative experience discussing pay with an employer.
  • Job seekers want salary ranges disclosed during the hiring process. Estimated compensation is the top piece of information candidates prioritize when looking at job postings and applications, according to Visier’s research, followed by job responsibilities and company benefits. And if the pay doesn’t meet their expectations, candidates aren’t afraid to walk away: 50% have withdrawn themselves from consideration during the job application or interview process because compensation did not match their expectations. Yet despite the importance of knowing pay bands ahead of time, only 8% of respondents proactively asked about pay during the hiring process.
  • Despite being formally discouraged from talking about pay, most employees are doing it anyway. Regardless of the environment, the vast majority of respondents (85%) say they discuss their salary with others both inside and outside their organization. When asked who they discuss salary with, nearly a quarter (22%) of respondents self-report discussing pay with coworkers in their same role, which jumps to more than a third (36%) when looking at Gen Z specifically.
  • Gaps in compensation knowledge vary by gender. Women feel less knowledgeable about who makes compensation decisions (68%) and about how compensation decisions are made (58%) compared to their male counterparts (75% and 66% respectively). This could be attributed to women’s awareness of historical pay inequities and increased skepticism toward their employer as a result.
  • Executives think they’re providing enough pay transparency, but their employees disagree. While 90% of C-suite leaders said that their employer provides enough transparency around salaries, just 68% of entry level workers, 60% of associate/analyst-level employees, and 60% of managers said the same.

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“It’s clear that employees want more transparency around pay –– but that doesn’t necessarily mean companies should publicize every employee’s compensation,” said Derler. “Employers have an opportunity to cultivate trust and improve retention with their workforce by making small changes to increase transparency around pay. From disclosing salary bands during the hiring process, equipping managers and leaders to have empathetic conversations with employees about pay, to providing informational training sessions on how compensation decisions are made, small steps can be more effective in creating greater transparency, trust and retention among your workforce.”

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