Salary transparency: How to navigate


Mo Hameed started a TikTok account a few months ago, where Canadians show what they do and how much they earn in everyday life.

“I wanted to create something for the youth, but also for other people in their careers who want to make sure they’re being paid properly, and just have a page where people can go and say, ‘Oh, this job is cool , let me examine it more closely,” said the 24-year-old.

With more than 62,000 followers and almost 600,000 likes, the account has taken off.

People clearly want the inside information.

As the cost of living continues to rise and wage disparities persist, there is a growing desire for more open discussions about income, something money expert Jessica Moorhouse says can help ensure everyone is paid fairly.

While it shouldn’t be all up to workers, she said, there are ways to create and encourage a more open culture around pay transparency by building relationships, engaging in consistent dialogue and not being afraid to ask questions.

“I’ve always found that the people who were open to sharing were people of color and women because we know we’re probably the ones who get paid less than other people,” Moorhouse said.

According to Statistics Canada, as of 2020, women earn 89 cents for every dollar men earn.

Rachel Wong, co-founder of careers platform Monday Girl, said pay transparency is a “huge issue” among its members, who are mostly Gen Z and millennial women.

Wong started a social media series where Monday Girl members shared how much they were making from their jobs.

She said the series led to a flood of messages from other members who felt inspired to open up dialogue about salary expectations and negotiation and workload management.

“Some people definitely went ‘wow’ at what other people were quoting and were like, ‘I’m getting underpaid,'” she said.

“There were some women who worked multiple jobs just to be able to afford the rent and they were able to see that they were underpaid in their day job and that they have the opportunity to make a switch to make their lifestyle more sustainable. “

When it comes to creating that space for larger discussions about income at work, Moorhouse said having a specific goal in mind, such as a raise, is a good place to start.

“‘Hey, this is the situation I’m in and I’m thinking about it. What would you suggest?’ And usually their answer has to do with their personal experience, how much they make, or how much they know, or what other people make. So that’s an option instead of saying, “How much do you make?” ‘

According to Moorhouse, when looking for a new job or starting a career, people shouldn’t be afraid to connect with people who inspire them or have a career that interests them.

Social media has opened the door for a wider range of career relationships to begin in ways that are unique compared to any time before, she noted.

The most important thing with this approach, however, is to ensure that it is not a transaction. Try to rapport with the person you reach out to instead of asking for something right away, Moorhouse said.

“Maybe there’s a connection between us – we know the same person – and then we might have a call about something career-related. And then at some point you can say, ‘Hey, so I’m also researching for myself some personal knowledge about pay in this industry and I’m wondering if you have any information to share about that?

She added that people have the most influence during the interview process compared to those who are already in a job, especially since salary expectations are often asked. So it’s wise to use the conversations you’ve had with people during this time to your advantage.

For freelancers like Moorhouse, there are instances where companies and brands want to work together, and she advises people to lean back on the network they’ve built and put themselves first.

“Instead of ‘How much did you charge?’ Ask, “How much do you think I should charge?”

On the employer side of the equation, attitudes are changing as more companies are more forthright about salaries as legislation mandates greater disclosure.

According to data from Indeed Canada, as of Q4 2021, 66 percent of new jobs posted on the platform included salary information. In the first quarter of this year it was 68 percent, in the second quarter it was 71 percent. and as of September, it’s 74 percent.

In fact, Canada also says that 75 percent of job seekers are more likely to apply for a specific job if the salary range is listed in the advert.

And based on a recent company survey, 88 percent of respondents who said their company discloses salary in job postings agree that disclosure has been beneficial to the hiring process in a tight job market.

Since launching his TikTok account, Canadian Income, Hameed’s videos have had some positive impacts.

“I had someone say, ‘Oh I’m so glad I watched your videos because I work in IT and I realized how underpaid I am,'” he said.

And while he acknowledges that online resources like Glassdoor can be useful, they don’t feel personal enough or delve deep enough into the myriad roles and industries out there.

“I’ve always wanted a resource where I can hear from real people.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 29, 2022.

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