Benefits of Salary Transparency and is TRIIIO Doing Enough?
By now, most will have heard about the Instagram page, Malaysian Pay Gap. This has resulted in a large conversation surrounding the pros and cons of being open about the compensation packages we receive. For many, the initiative has highlighted a common theme of low wages despite varying years of experience and working conditions, pushing many to realise that keeping one’s pay confidential benefits only employers. However, while many have commended the page’s effort to make wage transparency a new norm, many also feel the one-off stories may paint an inaccurate picture of the industry standard.
While speaking to the TRIIIO Wolves, it was acknowledged that culture plays an undeniable role in the tendency to hide one’s compensation package. While the idea of salary transparency has been gaining popularity in the West, many in Asia still view salary and finances to be personal information which must be kept guarded. With the feeling of community being a strong Asian value, it is unsurprising that many feel that such information would only create unnecessary conflict and negative feelings.
Pay Transparency at TRIIIO Recruitment
Here at TRIIIO, the general sentiment is a very positive view towards the concept of pay transparency as a whole. While a majority shared they would typically advocate for better clarity in employee compensation, the remainder were either indifferent or were inclined to see pay transparency as a negative change. However, all those who disagreed shared that this was largely due to a cultural expectation that salaries should be private and that they would accept such a change if the benefits were made clear.
TRIIIO’s finances are quite transparent and each employee has access to the company P&L. However, we stop short of sharing exactly what our employees are earning and instead, group each team’s remuneration and present it as a lump sum. When asked if TRIIIO is doing enough in regards to salary transparency, responses were mixed - a number believed TRIIIO should be doing better, but all acknowledged that TRIIIO is already doing more than most companies by presenting its financial statements to employees.
A move towards complete salary transparency was vastly supported by employees of TRIIIO. However, it was clear that a discussion needs to be had in order for this to be implemented. For everyone at TRIIIO, it is clear that this is not a one and done deal - consistent engagement must be had, and a review to ensure the compensation system is objective and fair must be conducted. Most also feel that 100% agreement is required before steps can be taken, which may only be possible while we are still only 20 people. A good middle ground that was proposed is to publish salary bands, and state company benefits on our JDs to show our commitment to transparency.
So Why Should We Do More?
With the general demographic at TRIIIO being within the 25 - 35 age range, it’s perhaps unsurprising that many feel very comfortable speaking openly about their salaries as Generation Z and Millennials have been shown to be more comfortable sharing such information. With TRIIIO advocating for financial transparency and performance-based compensation, it also comes as no surprise that many feel that this step would not be difficult to execute within our own company.
A main benefit raised is the ability to know where you stand as an employee. Negotiating a salary is a lot easier when benchmarks are provided to assess your skills, and particularly when you can see those skills exemplified in a person, a company’s expectations may not seem so out of reach. As recruiters, we also face many individuals who simply do not know what their market value is, largely due to a lack of information. We also often are asked which skills are most valued by employers, and how to grow one’s salary. By speaking more openly about salaries, these issues would be less pronounced, as individuals know their market value. Such information could also provide a sense of motivation, and provide employees with guidance as to which skills to focus on in order to become better valued.
On the employer side, this is also important in ensuring compensation packages provided remain competitive, and employers are able to attract great talent and retain current employees. To some, simply the act of publishing salary budgets and company benefits is seen as incredibly beneficial (even if they’re not top-tier), particularly as many workers today view such honesty in a positive light. This transparency will also keep employers accountable, as their benefits are open for anyone to scrutinise.
A push for salary transparency doesn’t stop at just publicising compensation packages. Instead, it is about creating a working culture which emphasises open-door policies to empower employees to voice out their dissatisfaction. In turn, this requires employers that are understanding and receptive to criticism and change. Revealing salary information will inevitably highlight any unfairness within organisations and industries, and companies must be ready to accept criticisms and move towards a more just compensation system. The argument for salary transparency prioritises empowerment over control, which can only be advocated when freedom of information is encouraged.
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