Workplace Readiness: Why You Shouldn’t Discuss Salaries in the Workplace

It’s a general rule that salary is a taboo topic, especially in the workplace. However, there are times where you will run into problems with this rule, such as a co-worker discussing their salary with you, or questions you may formulate about your own salary status or the company’s pay structure. A recent article on discusses both the dangers of discussing salaries in the workplace, as well as strategies to remain informed about your company’s pay structure.

The article quoted Susan Brennan, our Associate Vice President of University Career Services here at Bentley. Below are a few excerpts, to read the full article click here

“Sharing salary information can create tension between colleagues and resentment toward management—so it can really lead to a toxic work environment,” says Susan Brennan.

That’s not to say you should be totally oblivious regarding the going rate for your skills, however. “Every employee should know their salary range, what they are paid within the range, and how that compares within the market,” says Brennan. But, she adds, that is a conversation that is best kept between you and your manager.

Still, sometimes the gossip swirls, and you might hear things inadvertently. In those cases, ask yourself what you can learn, says Brennan. “It’s an opportunity to think about your own situation and compensation,” says Brennan. “If you make an effort to take that information about someone else’s salary and approach it from a place of learning and self-improvement, then it can be productive.” For instance, if you find out you’re earning less than the rest of your team, assess if that’s a reason to kick-start a job search.


By Caroline Gervais
Caroline Gervais Student Director, CareerEdge & Event Planning Team