You know that old saying that tells you not to talk to friends about religion or politics? Money should probably be added to that, too. In many situations, the "so, how much do you make?" question isn't really a good one to bring up, sometimes even among good friends.
In a professional setting, you most likely don't know how much your coworkers are making either--but I'm sure you're curious about it, especially if you feel you work harder than someone who may potentially be making more money than you are.
The Sacramento Bee has a section on its Web site where users can search the salaries of state employees; this is available because of a right-to-know law that was passed in the state in March 2008.
Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and Princeton University were interested to see how employees at the University of California felt about knowing what their coworkers were making. The researchers surveyed the workers a few days after they became aware of the site.
They found the workers who could see they were making below the median salary had a plunge in job satisfaction, and many started looking for new places of employment.
The research found publicizing salaries is probably not the best thing for a company. There are definitely some ethical arguments to make for why this isn't a great idea.
However, this also made me think maybe publicizing salaries could help laboratory professionals figure out where to work, to make sure they feel they are being compensated for the amount of work they do. Additionally, it could be a great way to campaign for better salaries no matter where you are employed.
What do you think about this study and what The Sacramento Bee has done? Is this too intrusive or a way to gauge if employees are making what they're worth?