When will UK working culture put pay to salary secrecy?

July 7, 2022

Along with mental health concerns and financial worries – discussing salary in the workplace remains something of a taboo.

Recent research shows that workers across the UK feel too embarrassed to raise the subject of pay with their employer – with just 25 per cent feeling comfortable talking about money.

The study by job site Glassdoor also found that only one in four employees have shared their salary details with a colleague.

Peterborough-based Anne Corder Recruitment has conducted its own online poll into the subject of salary secrecy among local and regional HR professionals and employers.

The findings show:

  • Three quarters (75 per cent) of respondents say employees NEVER discuss their salary with them
  • Just 17 per cent of employees discuss their salary on a regular basis
  • Only eight per cent of respondents say they have open discussions with employees about their pay.

Anne Corder Recruitment managing director Nel Woolcott said: “We ran the poll to gauge the feeling among our own clients and contacts on a subject which has historically been something that staff feel uncomfortable about having a conversation around with their employer.

“We recognise that this is part of the UK working culture, but while this may be the case – unlocking discussions about pay and being salary transparent is a powerful recruitment and retention tool for employers, but also allows job seekers to make better informed career decisions.”

Nel added: “While taking the first steps towards transparency can be difficult, particularly with so many employees not wanting to talk about their salary, open discussion can be a powerful tool to fight pay inequity.

“By including pay ranges in job adverts and creating an open culture to talk about pay, employers shouldn’t be afraid to lead change. Let’s face it – one of the first questions candidates ask is ‘How much is the salary?’”