Monday, December 6, 2010

Pay Discrimination and Secrecy

Economix has a good post on pay discrimination and pay secrecy.  I'll confess that I simply don't understand why pay information isn't made transparent.  I don't see any big downsides and see a lot of upsides for the workforce as a whole, and some for oversight by employees of their company (it's always a good thing to get people more involved, while top management may not be enthusiastic I bet shareholders would feel differently).  We do it in NY and the state hasn't collapsed yet (though we yet may due to unrelated reasons).  While some privacy concerns likely exist, it shouldn't be too hard to at least post titles with all associated salaries without names attached.  People could figure out the pay top figures much easier than lower down.  I'd also agree that promotion and training opportunities should be posted, though I don't see a law as necessary.  I kinda feel this way about salary information too but I lean towards this being a good idea not being done due to cultural inertia rather than sound objections.  This is the kind of thing the state is good at fixing, though also one where caution is warranted because sometimes there are good reasons for cultural practices that are not at first apparent.  In this case, since we have examples of this not causing problems, is one where I can safely lean towards the side of this being cultural inertia and not pragmatic tradition.

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