First-time login tip: If you're a REBA Member, you'll need to reset your password the first time you login.
01 Nov 2022

Why the clock is TikToking for transparency about pay

Gen Z employees are sharing their salaries on social media. What does this mean for employers?

Why the clock is TikToking for transparency about payjpg


In September, the BBC published a story about Hannah Williams, the founder of Salary Transparent Street. In her TikTok videos, she asks people on the street to share what they do and how much they earn. To date, the account has amassed 860,000 followers and 17.5m likes.

Historically, asking someone in the UK how much they earn has been seen as a personal and uncomfortable question. So what would prompt someone to ask – especially on such a public platform?

Why people discuss pay

Generation Z employees are more likely to talk openly about pay than other generations. But that doesn't mean they're all doing it. There are still plenty of Gen Z employees who feel uncomfortable discussing their salary with their peers.

Williams says she started making these videos when she realised she was being underpaid. Her openness about salary resonated with other users on the platform, earning her a dedicated following.

While it’s true that Gen Z employees are more likely to discuss pay, the biggest driving factor for people to do so is because they believe they are underpaid or being unfairly treated. Would she have thought to ask the question otherwise?

This is a natural response. Consider rising energy bills, as another example. Five years ago, no one would have thought to ask their friends or colleagues what they pay each month for energy. But now, prices have shot up. People feel ripped off. Suddenly, this question seems perfectly normal.

Want to know more on this topic?

Be a part of REBA Future Forum, a pioneering event focused on transforming reward and benefits for tomorrow's workforce. Join your fellow senior-level HR and Reward & Benefit leaders in London on 24 November 2022.

Find out more

Change is a long-haul

More than 60% of TikTok users are Gen Z, so it’s no surprise that this was the platform of choice. But will movements like this actually make a difference?

Change won’t happen overnight. But what it will do is put pressure on organisations, who will be forced to recognise that there is a drive for transparency among employees. Its presence and popularity on social media can’t be pushed aside in the same way as a few disgruntled conversations between co-workers –like when Apple shut down a Slack channel created by employees to discuss pay.

This could lead more organisations to examine their policies and processes for fairness and consistency, which can only be a good thing. Another possible outcome is that organisations will look to give their leaders more training and guidance on how to have pay conversations with their teams.

Some people will talk about pay in the workplace. Organisations can either try to ban these conversations– which just means they will happen elsewhere – or they can train managers to shape those conversations positively and productively.

In partnership with 3R Strategy

Independent Pay & Reward Consultancy

Contact us today