Millennials are known for breaking the rules in a few different ways. One of those ways? Talking about their salaries.
According to a new survey from The Cashlorette, millennials are much more likely to share their salary information than older generations. While 20 percent of U.S. workers share their pay with their co-worker, about 33 percent of millennials have done so.
“If you don’t know how much your co-workers are making, you don’t know if you’re being paid less than the equally qualified man doing the same job,” Emily Martin, general counsel and vice president for workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center, told Marketplace. “When co-workers talk about the pay, it helps to chip away at that secrecy.”
Millennials are more willing to share their salary information with family and friends as well. 63 percent of millennials aged 18 to 36 have shared their salaries with an immediate family member and 48 percent have shared their salary details with friends.
Alison Vidler, a 27-year-old human resources director, has shared her salary with both her mother and her sister. “We all share what we make and help boost each other to negotiate for more when someone has an offer, or pushing the other to ask for a promotion,” Vidler said to The Cashlorette. “No one else is going to look out for me better than they will.”
However, that sentiment isn’t necessarily true when it comes to colleagues. Just because millennials are more likely to share their salary information with a co-worker, it’s important to make sure you’re doing it for the right reason.
“I have shared my salary with certain co-workers when encouraging them to make a boost or compare to see if we are all in line or should be asking for more,” Vidler said.
When it comes to positions in industries where salaries are based on years worked, experience or job performance, sharing your salary with a colleague may not be the best idea. Millennial Melissa Manley, who works in nursing, knows this all too well.
“I’ve always worked in places that are competitive, and a lot of times people are paid differently even though they may have the same job title,” Manley said to The Cashlorette. “If a co-worker of mine found out that I make significantly more money than her even though we both do the exact same thing and she’s been working here longer, it will only cause animosity.”
Other than discussing specific salary numbers, there’s other information you can use to make sure you’re getting paid fairly at work — regardless of whether you’re a millennial or not.
“Even if it’s just women talking to each other about how much they make, you probably won’t learn about gender pay disparities that way, but you probably will get a better sense of the market rate,” Martin said. “That will make you better able to negotiate for yourself and — if you're being paid less than market rates — to really make a case here where you should be paid more.”
Both Payscale and Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool can assist in determining that market rate. But, when it comes to figuring out what a specific employer should pay you, asking around is still a great strategy.
“I do share my salary with some friends and the reason is that a lot of times people don’t realize what salaries could or should be and undercut themselves,” Vidler said. “As a person who phone screens many candidates a day, I think we all should be more open about it.”