Talking pay

The #talkpay hashtag has taken off lately. My favorite take on it is likely Emily Dreyfuss on Wired, describing her, “struggle with the last great taboo.”

Another favorite of mine on open salaries is from Planet Money, where the podcast goes inside a company that experimented with complete pay transparency.

It’s incredibly luring to know how much other folks are making, especially when you don’t know if you are making what you think you should. However, it can also be dangerous.

Nevertheless, the WordPress community has been participating in #talkpay. Ahmad Awais started a form and Google Spreadsheet for submitting anonymous pay information for WordPress-centric jobs. Many of the submissions are from self-employed folks, but many work for others full time.

More than 80 people have submitted to Ahmad’s spreadsheet, and while it’s interesting, it’s unsurprisingly non-conclusive and there are wild variations.

In the end, pay should be something that an employee and an employer talk about together relatively frequently and with frankness. I’m no expert. I’ve only been self-employed or an employee, but I know I would’ve enjoyed more transparency in most situations where I was an employee.

Pay is a sensitive subject and it makes sense why: it’s super complicated in culture and workplaces.

I like the conversation that #talkpay has caused, even if I don’t think everyone should go screaming to their bosses that they deserve a raise because of some figures they see. Those conversations should be more nuanced, and there’s not near enough data in that spreadsheet or anywhere I know of publicly (for WordPress folks) to get proper information of what the market is really like.