70 per cent of Quebec workers discuss salaries: Poll

One-half feel their salaries aren't fair and younger workers are more likely to share salary information than older workers
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 10/28/2010

Although discussing salaries at work is still taboo, Quebec workers would like to see things change, according to a survey by Quebec's HR association.

More than one-half (58 per cent) of respondents feel the ban on talking about salaries should be lifted, according to the survey of 604 Quebec workers by the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA).

The survey also found more women than men are in favour of this type of transparency.

"Since pay equity remains a concern in Quebec organizations, the fact that women are more interested in discussing salaries comes as no surprise since they're the ones who often feel left behind," said Florent Francoeur, president and CEO of CRHA.

A feeling of injustice

Notably, 51 per cent don't think that their salary was determined in a fair or equitable manner, a feeling that is even stronger among less educated respondents (59 per cent).

"These figures are cause for concern," said Francoeur, "because such feelings can undermine employee motivation. But even though people may feel their salaries aren't equitable, that doesn't necessarily mean it's true. There's often a lack of communication about compensation policies."

Salaries discussed in Quebec organizations

Employees still talk about salaries among themselves. In fact, 70 per cent of respondents reported having discussed their salary with one of their co-workers, a percentage that climbs to 84 per cent among young workers.

One-half the respondents expressed an interest in knowing their co-workers' salaries. Younger workers more inclined to want to know this information, at 69 per cent, and are more likely to divulge their salary details to a co-worker if asked (77 per cent compared to 52 per cent of older workers).

"Even though workers still feel that talking about their salaries is taboo, this survey indicates that there's a good chance that attitudes will change because transparency and equity are two key values for generation Y," concludes Francoeur.

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