For May Day, a programmer named Lauren Voswinkel suggested a hashtag, #talkpay, at the site Model View Culture.
Voswinkel is encouraging others to be open about what they do and how much they get paid for it, in part to help with transparency in the notoriously white male industry.
Predictably, the replies are mostly from tech workers, which means the salaries skew higher than in other industries. But a lot of people seem to be happy to share.
The twitter account @OfferLetterIO has been sharing some salaries anonymously.
One of the things I noticed in the replies, plus the numerous people who told me privately how much they make, is that lifetime salary isn’t necessarily a clear upward trajectory. Lots of people noted that they took a pay cut to do something more rewarding. (This is something I’ve done personally.)
I also heard from a lot of men who admitted that their wives (or girlfriends) make more than them (I sought out men who had that particular situation, so it’s not exactly representative, but I was still surprised how many men responded).
One man, who asked that I keep his name private said his wife is in school now, but for a long time made significantly more than him (“hecka more money”). He said he loved it, but thought that “she felt she had to apologise or be not proud for making more money.”
But it’s often a gut feeling. “I (and many guys I know) take it to heart if we don’t ‘wear the pants’… that shouldn’t be an excuse for a woman to feel guilt over earning a good wage. And all too often it is,” he said.
Hopefully, as it becomes more common, that will change.