Earn Salaries

Walking the Salary Transparent Street 

Chelsey Zhu  |  August 17, 2022

Why talking about wages is so important—and how to start the conversation.


Do you know how much your boss earns? What about the new hire who just took over your old job, or the coworker sitting right next to you? For most of us, the answer is probably “no.” Just 17% of employees at private companies say that their company’s salary information is public, and 41% say that their managers actively discourage them from talking about their wages. But what can you do when you want to understand whether or not you have pay parity with your colleagues? Without pay transparency, it can feel like you’re stumbling around in the dark. 

Luckily, our societal taboo against talking about pay is rapidly changing. 79% of workers say they want more pay transparency from their companies. And just in the last year, states like Connecticut, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Colorado have all passed laws that require employers to offer a pay range for positions during the hiring process, so you’ll know what kind of offer will be on the table before you spend too many months on interviews. 

Our guest for this week’s episode of the HerMoney Podcast is one woman who’s leading the conversation around pay transparency and pay equity—one viral video at a time. Hannah Williams is a social media influencer and the creator of Salary Transparent Street, an online video series where she approaches strangers on the street and asks them two simple questions: “What do you do?” and “How much do you make?”

Hannah tells Jean about how Salary Transparent Street was inspired by her own challenges navigating the job market and the murky rules of salary negotiation. When she decided to take the driver’s seat in her career search and held out for a job that was financially and emotionally fulfilling, she was able to triple her salary in under three years. 

We dive into how pay secrecy benefits companies and can even turn employees against each other, while salary transparency often uplifts marginalized groups (including women!). Hannah also discusses her own experiences asking complete strangers about their salaries, and she shares tips for how we can all introduce greater pay transparency into our own lives—as workers and as small business owners. 

“I don’t know any of these people, and I’m asking them what they do and how much they make,” Hannah says. “I feel like, by doing that, I’m providing a level of security and comfort for other people to start having these conversations with their colleagues and their family and their friends to figure out whether they’re being underpaid.”

Jean and Hannah also talk about the Great Resignation, why workers have more power than ever before to negotiate higher salaries, and why companies have a moral responsibility to ensure pay equity in hiring. 

In Mailbag, we answer questions on negotiating salary when you’re the co-founder of a company, and how you should rebalance your investment portfolio when you’re pivoting careers. And in Thrive, tips for picking the best pet insurance policy for your furry friend. 

You can find Salary Transparent Street on TikTok and Instagram. STS also offers a free guide on market research and an anonymous online salary transparency board, where anyone can share their job and salary information. Link to submit to the board here!

This podcast is proudly supported by Edelman Financial Engines. Let our modern wealth management advice raise your financial potential. Get the full story at EdelmanFinancialEngines.com. Sponsored by Edelman Financial Engines – Modern wealth planning. All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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The HerMoney podcast is supported by      Edelman
All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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