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In the Netherlands they have a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" culture around wages, how is this in other countries?

You ask for what you think you're worth (and are happy to work for) and if the company agrees they pay you.

There's no guarantee you'll be paid the same as your colleagues working the same job because they might just have the confidence to ask for more money.

I have no idea how my wages compare with my colleagues but as I am happy with what I earn it doesn't matter. Seems to solve a lot of the dick waving issues that stem from everyone comparing salaries.

Comments
  • 2
    And the difference after taxes isn't big so everyone is happy (or sad).
  • 4
    That's one of the main things our big unions does here in sweden. They keep statistics over average salaries compared to age and work experience in that field. So everyone can have something to stand on when negotiating salary.

    But I think the hush-hush culture is loosening up somewhat compared to older generations, but that could just be confirmation bias from my part
  • 10
    It's pretty much the same here in Germany, though I'm low-key sick of it.

    There are even work contracts that forbid you from talking about it?

    It only enables corruption.

    Edit: It doesn't really affect me right now, since I'm just in a regular collective agreement contract which stems from a union.
  • 5
    Same in the UK, it only benefits the companies
  • 3
    NL here as well, although our company recently switched to scales. Now everyone with the same skill level earns the same, and they made sure everyone got a correction upwards in salary.
  • 1
    I am regularly raging with 2 other co workers of mine and parts of that are also about pay checks.

    Ger
  • 1
    We have an policy for wages that makes it indirect transparent. You just need to know how ,any years someone has worken for the company and which training he/she has.
  • 1
    They’re pretty open in Italy and the Balkans when it comes to that thing (as long as you don’t overdo with asking).
  • 1
    To append to my previous answer: I think it’s because people don’t earn enough and they want to help each other by showing them what they can/could earn. It’s almost fraternal.
  • 1
    In South Africa, we're not supposed to talk about with each other but we often do. Found out that I was making a colleague doing pretty much the same job as me was making a little under 2/3rds what I was making. I did have more experience but the discrepancy seemed a bit big still. Also his job title was intern
  • 1
    I'm also from the Netherlands. If someone asks me how much money I make at the job, I'll just tell them and ask them how much they make. No big deal.
  • 1
    It definitely helps the company more than us. My first job in software I was making 55k. Meanwhile, the guy I was working with doing the same job, same amount of work load (I was taking on more frankly), was making 125k. I only learned what all the other devs were making after I gave my 2 weeks, and immediately regretted not asking sooner. I thought the job I was going to paid great. Turns out I was still making far less than most my counter parts at either job...
  • 3
    In the US it is common to not talk about salary and most employers discourage it. There are exceptions for government jobs and such were everyone at a certain "level" makes around the same, but in the private sector...no.

    This is a double-edged sword.

    I've been the top earner at some places I've worked and letting slip how much I was making got me in hot water because everyone else at my level wanted to know why they were not making that.

    I've been, I think, lower on the scale at others and wondered why the idiot at the end of the row was apparently making much more than I was
  • 2
    same in Germany, plus sometimes there are even contracts that prohibit to talk about anybody about your current salary or hourly rate
  • 3
    @JustThat > "I've been the top earner at some places I've worked"

    Same here. Jealousy is a real thing and can have an extreme negative affects on productivity and moral. Most private American companies know this and not talking about salary is ingrained in company culture.

    If you say 'I never let petty jealousy affect my profession!', you are either in the very, very small minority, or a liar.
  • 1
    @PaperTrail I've never had that experience, and I'm not a lair. It makes no sense. Why would I be mad at you, for you making more? People almost always are upset at the company, not the person making more. Which is justified. If you're paying someone 3or 4 times as much as others in that same position, they SHOULD be upset with the company. You know what does actually have a negative effect on productivity and moral? Low pay. The impact on moral is caused by nonsensical pay structures, not open salary information. "Correlation does not equal causation". I'm sure some people do get jealous, but that exist whether you know someone is making more than you or not. There's definitely people who deserve to be paid way more than me. But someone who has the exact same job, workload, and responsibility? No. But again, I (and most of the coworkers I've shared my salary with) aren't jealous of the higher paid colleague, they are almost always upset at the company, which is often justified.
  • 3
    @ChaoticGoods As I've read recently, "You aren't paid what you are worth. You are paid what you can negotiate."
  • 4
    @JustThat and negotiating with little to no knowledge of your worth is genuinely stupid. Thus the reason you should talk with colleagues about their pay. Like, if you had a car and had no idea what the going rate is, you're always going to be low balled. Or you might ask for some crazy insane price and get laughed at. But you're not going to get a reasonable price without knowing what a reasonable price is. This does go both ways. I've been involved in promotions before and have seen several people ask for crazy promotions or raises. But most of them just ASSUMED everyone else was making crazy money.
  • 0
    @ChaoticGoods > "Why would I be mad at you, for you making more?"

    Jealously isn't anger. Its an emotion like anger, happiness, sadness, etc, and an emotion one can chose. Some use that emotion to make themselves better ("Why can't I have six-pack abs like Bob? Hmm..maybe I should do what Bob is doing?"), the majority use the emotion to target anyone/anything they feel don't deserve the consequences of behavior and/or good luck. Billion dollar salary, a promotion, 1/8th inch extra of a slice of chocolate cake, whatever, can be used to justify their jealously because "its not fair". Our current political swing towards stealing money from the 'evil rich' is an example of jealousy at scale.
  • 1
    @ChaoticGoods > ".. most of the coworkers I've shared my salary with aren't jealous of the higher paid colleague."

    In our line of work (tech), that has been my experience also, but people I know in other industries (ex sales, logistics, etc) jealousy is real problem for HR. Justified or not, its an emotion companies have to do their best to manage. Some companies do a great job, a lot don't. Our company does a *really* good job in managing expectations. You want 'X' salary, you do 'Y'. Want a promotion, you learn XYZ, take a class, perform the duties, etc, and its very systematic.
  • 1
    @fraktalisman @LotsOfCaffeine
    Forbidding to talk about salary is illegal and such contracts are unenforceable, except when it would make the company uncompetitive (if that's the case it has to be communicate, and that alone is a big red flag...).

    https://spiegel.de/start/...
  • 0
    @PaperTrail yeah I see where you're coming from. It's definitely a problem in Sales but generally everyone knows what their colleagues are making, as commissions are the same and sales numbers are usually proudly displayed by either the company or the employees. If all companies actually operated the way yours does, we wouldn't need to share salaries. But unfortunately most don't. Of course in practical terms for you, you shouldn't need to ask about other people's salaries because you can figure it out based of their position and responsibilities. You might not know exactly but can get pretty close.
  • 1
    @PaperTrail naw that's pretty twisted. There's definitely plenty of rich assholes who have a disproportionate amount of wealth compared to their actual contributions, but that's a separate subject entirely. And it's not jealous if it's justified. If you do the same job, same amount of work, with the same amount of responsibility you can't seriously tell me someone else should be making 4 times more than you just because (and again, that doesn't mean they should make less, it means you should probably being making more). That's not an excuse, that's reasonable. You're kind of comparing apples and oranges here. I don't think anyone is saying people who have more responsibility, work more, have more ability/skill should be making the same as someone who has less. The issue in question is when these things are equal, or very nearly equal. That's like someone who has 6 pack abs being upset that someone else has 6 pack abs but DOESN'T diet or exercise (kind of, again, apples and oranges).
  • 0
    @sbiewald wow that court case is from 2009? I feel like more people should know about this god damn
  • 1
    @PaperTrail If Homer Simpson taught me anything it is this:

    "Envy is wanting what someone else has. Jealousy is being worried that someone will take what you already have away."
  • 1
    @sbiewald >> "Forbidding to talk about salary is illegal and such contracts are unenforceable"

    Not in the US
  • 1
    @JustThat > "If Homer Simpson taught me anything"

    Homer is a great teacher of all things.

    "Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand!"

    - Homer Simpson
  • 0
    Im a German guy working in Austria atm: With all of my contracts I was allowed to talk about my income with everyone. But even when talking to friends or colleagues this was/is not a common topic but it comes up from time to time. So I have at least a rough estimate about what colleague, friends and family earn
  • 0
    I've never experienced what OP says in the Netherlands. Though I've always worked on places with CAOs (collective worker agreements) in place. So although you never know another one's salary exactly, you're never more than €200 off
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