Transparency Hurdle: Workers Don’t Want Their Pay Disclosed

Stephen Miller

More than 7 in 10 U.S. adults don’t think private companies should disclose employee wages internally, according to the findings from a Marist Poll released May 3. Yet Americans do favor including salary or wage ranges in new job postings instead of a fixed rate of pay.

“There’s no doubt that when it comes to publishing wages, most Americans think it’s a sensitive topic and a private matter,” said Lee M. Miringoff, director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, in a statement.

Among the responses from the more than 530 poll respondents:

  • 58 percent of Americans think making salaries public would cause conflict between employees rather than increasing fairness of pay within the company.
  • White respondents (63 percent) are more likely than racial minorities (51 percent) to think publicly releasing salary amounts would cause friction within companies.
  • Men (79 percent) are more likely than women (67 percent) to say employees’ wages should not be published within companies for everyone to see.


The poll of adult U.S. employees, conducted in April, was commissioned by PBS affiliate WGBH Boston, which posted charts of the findings.

“What jumped out at me is that many people don’t want their co-workers to know what they earn. They may want to know what other people earn, but they don’t want other people to know what they earn,” said Valerie Samuels, a partner with law firm Posternak, Blankstein and Lund in Boston.

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