If I asked you how much you get paid, would you tell me?

Management researcher David Burkus argues you should.

In a TED talk with more than a million views, Burkus argues that if everyone knew how their salary compares to their peers', workplaces would be a lot fairer.

Burkus says the reason companies want you to think you should keep your salary a secret is because, by doing that, they have the upper hand against you in a payrise discussion.


He adds that "pay secrecy" is a way for companies to save money as it creates that "information asymmetry" in salary negotiations.

"Openness could increase the sense of fairness," he says.

"It turns out that pay transparency - sharing salaries openly across a company - makes for a better workplace for both the employee and the organisation," he adds.

"When people don't know how much they get paid compared to their peers, they're more likely to feel underpaid and even discriminated against.

"Do you want to work at a place that tolerates the idea that you feel underpaid or discriminated against? But keeping salaries secret does exactly that."

Burkus argues that employees want you to be unaware of your colleague's salary but warns that this asymmetry can be negative outcomes for everyone.

He cites studies that show that the gender pay gap, for example, is smaller in government roles with known salary brackets, compared to private companies where no one knows how much anyone earns.

"To close the gender gap, open up the payroll," he says.


He also mentions studies that show that people who know how much they are paid compared to their peers work harder to improve their performance and are less likely to quit.

Pay transparency is a widely debated subject worldwide, especially in light of the recent controversy over broadcasters' salaries in the UK.

Unlike Burkus, a number of experts argue knowing what everyone earns could lead to diminished productivity and more "politics" in the workplace.