"In a recent study published by the Academy of Management Journal, Prof. Peter Bamberger of Tel Aviv University's Recanati School of Business and Dr. Elena Belogolovsky of Cornell University's School of Industrial and Labor Relations have published a study that explains why pay secrecy is likely to hurt an individual's work performance and prompt top talent to seek new employment. They conclude that pay secrecy weakens the perception by employees that a performance improvement will be accompanied by a pay increase. It also finds that high-performing workers are more sensitive than others when they perceive no link between performance and pay; suggesting that pay secrecy could limit a company's ability to retain top talent."
So who, if anybody, benefits from pay secrecy?
I work for local government, so my salary is a public record. In fact, there's a website that shows the salary (going back three years) of every government worker in our state - whether they work for the federal, state, county, or city. I thought it was kind of odd when some of my co-workers "discovered" this fact. NBD to me.
Yep. Same thing in the military--you can look at someone's rank, ask the number of years they've been in, and know their salary to the penny. And it's never done any harm that I can see.
You would also need to know if the soldier was married, and their job. You get a an allowance based on cost of living in your area if you are married. Also some jobs get paid additional wages because their jobs are hazardous, like deep sea diving.
You usually know if the people you work with are married or not, and what kinds of specialty or hazardous duty pay they qualify for, so the numbers aren't hard to figure out. Another comment in this thread pointed out that it's a little more complicated in the Navy with sea pay, but in the Army and Air Force, where I served, it's pretty straightforward.
I agree, the data is fairly easy to get a hold of. But yeah, you have to consider deployment time. Each branch has a different amount of deployment requirements per year. I know the Navy sends people out for a considerable amount of time. One thing you have to consider when looking at those numbers is BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence); If married you get money for food to eat off base and feed your family. Enlisted get more money than officers, on top of that, while deployed you don't get BAS pay, but you do get separation pay for your spouse after 30 days of being deployed. This is why many field exercises usually last just under 30 days, so they don't have to dish out additional pay.
So yeah, you could compile a few data points and get a very accurate salary for a soldier, you just need to know what data impacts military pay.
Maybe not to the penny - but close enough for government work. Time in service is a big factor in military pay, but there are other factors you need to know. Sea pay is calculated on the number of years served at sea. So, an E-5 over 12 who has served 9 years aboard a sea going command probably makes significantly more than an E-5 over 12 who has never been to sea. (He makes significantly more while he is at sea - if he gets orders to Pensacola to drive a desk, he won't draw sea pay while in Pensacola.)
Okay, I was Army and then Air Force, so I didn't know about the sea pay thing. Interesting, thanks.
While it is true that government pay is often public (or within a small range that is public), usually there is no financial incentive for superior performance either.
The point of this article is that people who do better work than their peers should be able to see that they're making more money than their peers, or they'll just do whatever they can get away with.
Certainly I've seen this effect firsthand. When employees feel like they've gone all-out but for whatever reason they get an average or below-average (for them) bonus, it is a huge motivation killer. I've found that even though pay and performance are supposed to be linked at my workplace the reality is that it has more to do with your relationships with the next level of managers and being on the right projects than actual effort. While I certainly endeavor to do quality work, I have to say that knowledge of how the rewards system works in practice taints my priorities.