Why Is Salary Information Confidential?

Why salary info is confidential! This question is the direct result of why we should not compare our own salary with others.

  • Because it only brings you a bunch of negative feelings (jealousy, miserable feelings) and eventually very well take you down.
  • Because it is not helping you, in anyway, getting a raise. Unless you tell the company “if you don’t raise me to $xxxx, I will quit”. You can do that out of the blue without any reasoning though. There always a whole bunch of people receiving $xxxx/month around the world, you don’t need to find a friend that does.
  • Because you are NOT the direct lead of the person and you DO NOT know what the person did well in the past, even if you were their classmate 2 years ago. Your friend might be not a good presenter, everyone laughed at him, but in the past 6 months he implements features 3 times faster than anyone else. You DON’T know that.
  • There is a reason for sharing salary – if you know that guy has higher salary than you, you may try to learn from him. But people don’t do it this way, they do #1 instead, unless the gap is big enough – that’s when titles already differentiate it.

So if you see people sharing salary info and starts feeling unfair – let them know why sharing or asking other’s salary is bad for them. They should deal with their salary by themselves or talk with the company, rather than comparing oranges and apples.

The same thing applies to promotion – except that promotion is not confidential. We often hear “Even Mr. A is promoted to Senior already, why it’s taking so long for them to promote you,” or “Why is that Mr.B can be a Manager, his project does not have a process” …. people simply don’t know what they could and did do.

It could be a sign of “lack of trust.” In this case, it is hard because the management can’t share all the details why Mr. A is receiving that salary or why Mr. B got promoted. We just need everyone to agree to the 4 reasons above and do not do the comparison or complaining about others. It’s not bringing any good.

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