I'll Have What He's Making
Bloomberg Businessweek|December 20, 2021
Employees can make more when they know what their peers pull in
Tom Giles

Taylor Poindexter had been working as a software engineer for about a decade when she began amassing a dataset of salary information from other people in the industry last year. “I thought I was well-paid until I started talking to my peers,” says Poindexter, who in 2016 helped found the Black Code Collective, a community for software engineers of color. “I realized that, as a woman and a person of color, maybe I’m not as well-paid as I could be.”

Online tools such as Glassdoor Inc. are designed to show people how much they can make at a given job, but Poindexter says she thought she could get better data on her own. She reached out to people she knew and posted publicly on Twitter, asking engineers to send her information about their compensation.

Over several months she collected thousands of responses, which she anonymized, added to a spreadsheet, and started sharing. A friend organized the figures into an array of charts and graphics, arranged by city, specialty, experience level, and size of organization. The numbers show, for example, that most respondents were commanding salaries well over $100,000 a year, that people in larger companies tend to be paid higher average salaries than those in smaller ones, and that for many people, pay levels out after about a decade of work.

Exercises such as Poindexter’s are unfolding in one way or another across the technology industry, which, for all its rhetoric about the power of shared data, is often hostile to the idea of open discussions about how much employees make.

61% Share of tech workers who say management or HR has discouraged them from discussing their compensation with other employees

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