It appears that discussing salary is still a no go in the workplace as just 35 percent of employees know what their colleagues earn, according to research released today from Glassdoor.

The survey of 1,068 UK adults showed that, of those that know, more than a third (38%) said that it was because their colleagues are very open about discussing salary and compensation. However, nearly one in four (22%) said it was through office gossip and five percent said that someone in the office had left sensitive information lying around. Most alarmingly, four percent claim they obtained this information from ‘someone in HR’.

Jon Ingham, Glassdoor career and workplace expert, said:

“People don’t generally like talking about how much they earn directly with friends, colleagues or even partners, but there is a growing appetite for more salary transparency in the workplace. As well as forcing employers to create a more level playing field, it could help break down the gender pay divide. This cloak and dagger approach to salaries must come to an end.”

There is significant appetite for more salary information in the workplace as 60 percent of employees think that companies should be forced to be more transparent. There are many benefits to this approach, but of those that want more transparency, more than half (52%) think it would create more trust between employer and employees, plus 48 percent believe it would force employers to create a more level playing field when it comes to setting salary ranges. A further 45 percent believe that it would help eliminate the gender pay gap, which is a far wider reaching issue.

Overall, 42 percent of employees feel comfortable sharing their salaries and this rises to 51 percent if it was anonymous.

Currently just one in five employers (20 percent) share salary information internally within the company and 13 percent outside of the organisation. This makes it difficult for employees to benchmark themselves against the market and for job-seekers to find out where they should pitch themselves in terms of open positions.

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