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Report: Top-Level Managers Are Tight-Lipped About Pay. CEOs Don’t Like to Talk About How Much They Make

By Alice Kantor

 Young people might be more open than ever about how much money they make, but that’s certainly not the case for CEOs.

Top-level managers are unwilling to share their pay with anyone: not with coworkers they trust, not with peers at other companies and not even with close friends, according to a LinkedIn survey of nearly 19,000 US-based business professionals polled in June and July.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-gray-suit-wearing-black-framed-eyeglasses-5439147/

While most entry-level workers would tell their families about their pay and 31% would tell their close friends, nearly a quarter of company vice-presidents, C-suite executives and business owners say they wouldn’t tell anyone at all.

“When it comes to senior leaders, the desire to keep things quiet remains surprisingly strong,” George Anders, a LinkedIn senior editor at large, said in an online post.

Of course, publicly traded companies have to disclose their senior executives’ pay in annual filings so those leaders don’t have a choice. Last year stands as the most lavish on record for executive compensation, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index.

Pay Transparency

Managers are especially wary of sharing pay data with their colleagues, with only 5% of C-suite executives saying they would share their salaries with coworkers they trust, compared to 18% of junior employees. 

Sharing pay could raise questions about fairness, Sanders wrote, which managers would want to avoid. And they might not feel the need to share and discuss pay, as they tend to be happier with their salaries than more junior workers, the report found.

Executives might also want to stay clear of salary conversations with extended family members, as they might have widely different incomes.

Overall, only 34% of senior leaders agreed that increased pay transparency would lead to greater equality in the workplace, compared to about half of non-management respondents. 

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com.

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