Millennials are more likely to share their salary than Baby Boomers

Millennials are more likely than other generations to share their salary information with others. This is clearly not how Baby Boomers feel.

Though it seems like nowadays people share all kinds of information about each other with not only their friends and family but the whole world on social media, when it comes to salaries we still tend to refrain.

According to a survey of 752 employees at a multibillion-dollar commercial bank, 80% were willing to fork over cash to prevent an email revealing their salary from being sent with 40% saying they wouldn’t accept $125 cash in exchange for sending the email.

However, views on salary disclosure do differ by generation according to a new study by Bankrate. Millennials (ages 18-37) are more likely than other generations to share their salary information with others, including coworkers, friends outside of work, romantic partners who they don’t live with, and family members other than their spouse. This is clearly not how Baby Boomers feel as:

  • One in three Millennials has shared their salary information with a coworker, compared to 18% of Baby Boomers.
  • Nearly half (48%) of Millennials have told their salary to a romantic partner who they didn’t live with, versus 29% of Baby Boomers.
  • Fifty-eight percent of 18- to 37-year-olds have told a friend how much they make, compared to 33% of Baby Boomers.
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of Millennials have told a family member other than their spouse their salary, compared to 43% of Baby Boomers.

Perhaps it is just a generational divide. Millennials are used to sharing more than their predecessors and they value transparency in companies they work for as well as brands. “Sharing your salary information has long been considered taboo, but that notion could be changing, especially among young adults,” said Bankrate.com analyst Amanda Dixon. “When you’re ready to ask for a raise or negotiate your salary at a new job, knowing how much you’re earning relative to others can be helpful.”

However,  other generations may look at it in a different way. Dow Scott, a human resources professor at Loyola University Chicago, told Bankrate, “What you’re being paid, I mean, it really reveals a lot about you. It’s how much you’re valued by the company, how much your job’s valued, probably what neighborhood you live in, whether your kids go to a good school or not. I mean, it just, it exposes people.”

Here is how the other generations measured up when it came to salary disclosure:

As for men versus women, it seems that men are a bit more willing to share. Nearly 30% of men have shared their salary with a co-worker, compared to only 20% of women who reported doing so.

“Men assess communications about pay more positively than women,” Scott says. “Men also have more positive perceptions of pay fairness and pay satisfaction.”

Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.