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Millennials Are Too Open About Salary History

Topics: Data & Research

Millennials, the generation born between 1982-2002, are characteristically marked by low hanging-heads staring into smartphones, feeding their addiction to all things digital, especially social media.

I should know: I am a millennial, after all. And while we’re being honest, I want to be the first person to admit that my generation has a serious problem with oversharing. We don’t hesitate (not even for a moment) to parade our lives on live streams, and we’ll happily turn our friends, families and pets into viral memes at the drop of a dime.

The problem with this is that our natural generational gravitation towards oversharing can creep into our professional lives. And I’m not just talking about your employer or potential employer coming across an embarrassing photo of you online. The kind of oversharing I’m talking about happens not online, but in actual real life.

Millennials Are Too Open With Employers About Salary History

How do I know millennials are, in fact, too open about sharing salary history? PayScale recently surveyed over 15,000 workers to get a better understanding of how people respond to salary history inquiries during the interview process. And as it turns out, millennials are less likely than any other generation to withhold salary history. Only 18 percent of millennials refused to provide their salary history, compared to 22 percent of gen Xers and 28 percent of baby boomers.

Could Generational Differences Be to Blame?

What factors contribute to millennials being so much more open about salary history? I think there are some generational differences that are important to consider.

Because the starkest contrast is between millennials and baby boomers, let’s start there. Baby boomers were working and taking jobs when it was still very much taboo to talk about money. It was a time when having one, very secure job over the long-term was the norm. There are still cultural taboos around discussing money in American culture, but perhaps millennials are starting to change that narrative.

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Ummm, we are too open? According to the bottom graph 55% of millennials didn’t disclose their salary history, the most of any other generation and when we did give it we gave it at amounts equivalent to other generations.

Of course, the fact that the millennial percentages add up to 119% does call the data into question, as well as me wondering what the difference is between “No, but they asked” and “I ask asked and refused”

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