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News: staff comfort levels on salary discussions vary across the globe

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12th Apr 2013
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More than half of respondents to a new global poll are not comfortable discussing salaries with their colleagues.

There were significant geographic differences in the survey from job firm Monster – just 25 percent of US respondents were happy to discuss their remuneration, compared to 43 percent of Europeans.

Of the 3000 responses, 18 percent were very comfortable discussing salary, 14 percent were often comfortable, 13 percent were somewhat comfortable, 20 percent seldom comfortable and 35 percent never comfortable.

Broken down geographically, 63 percent of US respondents were not comfortable compared to just 36 percent in Germany. Just under half (49 percent) of UK employees were comfortable discussing salaries.

"Pay transparency is a hot topic, especially among startups. But it's clear that many workers are just as uncomfortable with the notion as their bosses are,” said Mary Ellen Slayter, Career Advice Expert for Monster.com.

It’s interesting to note the geographical breakdown, which may reflect differences in whole-country culture. HR departments looking to set up offices abroad will undoubtedly need to consider these findings, as will businesses creating culturally-diverse workforces at home.

To collate the research, Monster asked visitors to their site the following question: “In your current or most recent job, how comfortable were you discussing what you earn with your colleagues (e.g., salary, vacation, sick time, bonuses, etc)?”

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