Why salaries shouldn’t be kept secret

Very few people like to talk about how much money they make — especially not people who earn a lot of money.

Since companies tend to be run by people who earn a lot of money, the result is a culture of silence and secrecy when it comes to pay. Such a culture clearly served theNew York Times ill in this case.

If the salaries of senior New York Times management had not been a closely-guarded secret, then Abramson would not have been shocked when she found out how much Bill Keller made before her, and Arthur Sulzberger would not have reacted badly to Abramson’s questions about pay.

Indeed, secrecy surrounding pay is generally a bad idea for any organisation. Ben Horowitz has the best explanation of why that is: it can’t help but foment poisonous internal politics. But there are other reasons, too.

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