I’ve mentioned before that I work for a Crown corporation, which means a certain amount of political interference occurs at my day job. Nothing too bad, so overall it is a more of a quirk of the job. Perhaps the biggest adjustment I had moving to the company was the Annual Payee Disclosure Report by our parent company, which lists the salary and taxable benefits received for every employee who earns more than $50,000 in the previous year.
This basically means I can look up just about anyone I work with and find out roughly what they make all the way to my VP or the CEO. So it ends up being the most open environment about salaries that I have ever been in. Just about everyone is willing to tell you approximately what they make. So as the annual cost of living adjustment just came in, I’ve heard lots of comments by people that drop how much they now make.
After being in the private sector for most of my career it’s still a little shocking to hear everyone discussing salary so openly. Yet perhaps the most interesting thing I learned about knowing this information was it doesn’t change much of anything. Knowing what people make doesn’t change the fact who I’m friends with or how they treat me. If anything knowing the number allows me to put their spending comments into context. Let’s face it if you earn over $70,000 you can afford a new truck a lot easier than someone who earns $50,000/year.
Actually the forced disclosure provides some benefits to the work environment. For example, it gets rid of any speculation on who earns what and removes a lot of discussion of what is fair. It also provides some unusual career planning since I can look at my pay range for my job and know down to the dollar the maximum I can earn at my job (just over $100,000). So if I want to earn more than that I know I have to look for a new job with a higher job class number. Or if I’m ok with that maximum I can plan to stay in my job for a few years.
In the end, I have to confess knowing the salary of everyone isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just a number and not even a very important one since with such heavy use of credit today, you can often have a big salary but be very poor in net worth. So how do you think your workplace would be if everyone knew your salary and you knew their salary? Would it improve things or makes things worse?