# Open Source Pay

• If you want to know you coworkers salary then start a UNION. This way everyone gets the same pay no matter what the work ethics are. Opening up pay scales to everyone will cause resentment and a lot of frustration. Because Bill gets 10K more than me and I do all the work. If you don't know how to negotiate then take a class. :w00t: If anyone asks me what I make. I tell if they are a hard worker like me and they want to disclose what they make with me fine. My friend is in Payroll and she see's all the salaries and she see's all the people getting paid more then they are worth because they go to the hairdresser during company hours and take long lunches etc. No it is best they negotiate on their own and there are plenty of websites to get an estimate of what you should be paid.

• It may not be feasible (or desireable) for companies to disclose salaries publicly, but how about disclosing the average salaries for departments?

I remember reading of a scenario in the book Applied Cryptography, by Bruce Schneier, where there is a way for a group of people to calculate their average salary without giving their own. Person A adds a random number to his own salary then tells Person B the number. Person B adds his salary to this total and then tells Person C, and so on until it gets back to Person A. Person A then subtracts that random number, divides the total by the group, and voila, you have an average salary. If everyone works with similar levels of responsibility they would be able to tell how divergent they are. That being said, if you make \$10,000 less than the average, you may still feel bitter, but your dignity will be intact as no one else would know.

Gaby A.

Gaby
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"In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not."
- Albert Einstein

• For all those people who want employees treated "fairly" you'll need to define "fair." Does it mean identical, in that, all DBA's are paid 30K? Does it work of seniority, 5 years = 30K, 10 years = 40K. But what about ability. I show up to work each day, check backups, look at logs, monitor security, check performance and go home. Should I be paid as much as the guy who is building new environments, architecting solutions, trouble-shooting the hardest problems, if we're both at the same level of seniority and the same job title? I certainly don't think so. What about the importance to the company of the projects you're working on? I'm busting my butt building the best content management system I possibly can for the training company and you're busting your butt building the best income generating software for the company. I'm working on a cost center, you're creating new money for the company. Do we get paid the same?

I'm sorry, "fair" is in the eye of the beholder. Someone is going to get rewarded far past their worth with "fair" and someone else is going to get punished for no reason at all with "fair." From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs sounds so sweet. Unfortunately it doesn't take into account human nature. Sooner or later, I'm going to realize the Fred is doing half as much as I am, but getting the same pay, because we're "fair." I may then start doing half as much too.

Don't give me fair. Give me the competition. Raise the bar for me, raise it for everyone. If I'm doing more, I want more compensation. Period.

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The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
Theodore Roosevelt

The Scary DBA
Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

• Gaby A. (1/16/2009)

It may not be feasible (or desireable) for companies to disclose salaries publicly, but how about disclosing the average salaries for departments?

I remember reading of a scenario in the book Applied Cryptography, by Bruce Schneier, where there is a way for a group of people to calculate their average salary without giving their own. Person A adds a random number to his own salary then tells Person B the number. Person B adds his salary to this total and then tells Person C, and so on until it gets back to Person A. Person A then subtracts that random number, divides the total by the group, and voila, you have an average salary. If everyone works with similar levels of responsibility they would be able to tell how divergent they are. That being said, if you make \$10,000 less than the average, you may still feel bitter, but your dignity will be intact as no one else would know.

Gaby A.

nobody would know unless you are a 5 person team of which it could quickly be washed out 🙂

I really prefer the... I need to know what i make and be good with that. If i am not... i need to get that changed. I love to see peoples reactions when they complain about work and you say 'Life is all about choices... You can make the choice to work somewhere else'

• It's a pretty well known psychological principle that well being is judged vis a vis other people. Most people would be happier making \$50K when everyone else makes \$25K than \$75K when everyone else makes \$100K.

Making salary information generally available runs the risk of making people much more unhappy because they will compare their salary to the salaries of those at the top. Why does my immediate manager make 25% more than me? Why does the top boss make 3x what I make?

If it was a really small company (less than 10) and the top people have salaries less or equal than everyone else, then it could work. Even in this case, you probably wouldn't disclose the valuation of their ownership in the firm. Otherwise, it is likely a recipe for dissatisfaction.

• Interesting topic. I can see both sides of the issue. I personally am against legislation of pay. I'm not a big union fan either, because the union shops I've seen just protected incompetence and that led to work falling to the lowest common denominator.

I wouldn't have a problem with salaries being disclosed, but I do think it will cause more problems than it will solve. If Joe who shows up for work at 9 and leaves at 4 is making more than I am then I would be unhappy. I'd address it with the boss and if it wasn't rectified I'd be looking for work elsewhere. So in the long run it is more likely to harm than help.

Jack Corbett
Consultant - Straight Path Solutions
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• With some small companies the boss doesn't get their monthly paycheck, so the employees get paid. They have to rely on the profit sharing for that month and if he/she didn't get their monthly pay check then more then like profits are down.:w00t:

• You know, I tried to figure something like this out once, I was in a 70 or so person company, and saw the administrative expense for salary for a month. I knew in general terms what some of the positions made, so I added in what I knew, then made some (un) educated guesses, trying to be generous on salaries I didn't know, and ended up with half a million still left by the time I got to the last two people. For a month.

So, after all that, all I got was disgruntled. I didn't feel at the time that I was being cheated or anything, but I knew that I was working hard and cared more about my job than some others that had to be making easily three times what I was.

Lesson learned, I don't want to know anymore.

**Edit - after reading the posts of others while I was writing this:

Rob Ericsson

Why does the top boss make 3x what I make?

Rob, I think I just proved your point. 😉 although it wasn't nearly the top boss making 3x what I was, I ended up pretty low on the totem pole, so lots of folks had to be making 3x what I was.

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"stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."

• Every place I have worked has forbidden discussion on salaries. It is a firing offense.

I'm OK with that. If someone in the same position as I am is making more money than I am, I don't want to know. It would only tick me off. There are enough things in life to tick me off.

I'd rather be blissfully ignorant.

• I believe that there are solid arguments for both sides of this issue. It is nice and comforting to know that you are being paid fairly for what you do in comparison to your peers. However, this can and will lead to resentments. It is difficult for one to objectively compare himself or herself against others in similar positions. Also, there are many factors that contribute to a person's salary, besides performance, that need to be considered, such as past salary history at prior companies.

It used to bother me when I was younger if I was paid less than someone else who hadn't been in the position as long, or who didn't (IMHO) contribute as much as I did. However, I am now of the opinion that as long as I am satisfied with my salary, it doesn't matter what anyone else is being paid.

That being said, I feel that everyone's salary should remain private, but the ranges of salary, or pay scales, for each position should be published. This way, a person can know where they stand, how much they can earn in their current position, and how much they can earn if they get promoted to the next level. It shouldn't matter what others are earning.

• This is my personal opinion but what other people are being paid is really none of my business. What management decides people should be paid is between them and the employee. If the employee decides to share that with their co-workers it is their decision and they'd better be prepared to face the scrutiny. As soon as one person decides that you aren't worth what you're paid it's a given that the number will quickly multiply.

Probably just my office but people really don't need another reason to start getting paranoid.

• mike.sortino (1/16/2009)

I believe that there are solid arguments for both sides of this issue. It is nice and comforting to know that you are being paid fairly for what you do in comparison to your peers. However, this can and will lead to resentments. It is difficult for one to objectively compare himself or herself against others in similar positions. Also, there are many factors that contribute to a person's salary, besides performance, that need to be considered, such as past salary history at prior companies.

It used to bother me when I was younger if I was paid less than someone else who hadn't been in the position as long, or who didn't (IMHO) contribute as much as I did. However, I am now of the opinion that as long as I am satisfied with my salary, it doesn't matter what anyone else is being paid.

That being said, I feel that everyone's salary should remain private, but the ranges of salary, or pay scales, for each position should be published. This way, a person can know where they stand, how much they can earn in their current position, and how much they can earn if they get promoted to the next level. It shouldn't matter what others are earning.

I agree. Pay ranges and wage scales should be public. Same thing with the requirements to move from one pay range to another. I think that's realistic.

----------------------------------------------------
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
Theodore Roosevelt

The Scary DBA
Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

• Individual salaries should be private for all the reasons already stated with the possible exception of senior management.

However, I think it would be useful and appropriate to include the aggregate salaries with all the other financial information.

• AndyD (1/16/2009)

HR Departments are certainly able to make these decisions.... they just judge you on the clothes you are wearing 😛

:D, LOL, maybe that's why I keep looking for new jobs to make more money. Perhaps my clothes policy should be re-evaluated.

• I work at a state-run institution, so all salaries are public record. In fact, our local newspaper covered a story on state employees discussing how tax dollars are used to pay state employees. The newspaper even set up a web site where anyone can go and search salaries by position, name, or place of employment. I must admit it was interesting to look up co-workers and top exectives (presidents, vice presidents, athletic coaches) to see what they made. However, it can also cause some feelings of jealousy and unfairness.

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