“Salary Transparent Street”: People Are Revealing How Much They Get Paid And What Job They Do
According to this recent study, most people significantly underestimate what people are earning in similar jobs elsewhere. The researchers argue this holds people back from seeking better paid jobs or higher pay. They also suggest that if workers were more aware of salary disparities, at least 10% of low-paying jobs would simply not be viable at current pay rates.
So one D.C. TikTok content creator named Hannah Williams has set out on a mission to get people to talk openly about their salaries. With two simple questions, “What do you do?” and “How much do you make?”, the Salary Transparent Street project is promoting equal pay through transparent conversations, something that in many workplaces is still seen as a taboo topic.
Williams’s videos amassed millions of views and counting, and it’s obvious how much they have resonated with people. The creator now plans to travel nationwide and ask people in every capital city how much money they make. So follow her on social media to see how it goes!
TikTok creator Hannah Williams launched the Salary Transparent Street project to get people to talk openly about how much they make for the job they do
Image credits: salarytransparentstreet
Her most popular video gained 13.5M views in just 4 days
@salarytransparentstreet Georgetown, Washington, D.C. 📍 We are seeking an official partner and sponsor to help us travel to more cities. Please email us if you support pay transparency, equal pay, and increased diversity. #salarytransparency #paytransparency #salarytransparentstreet #moneytok #careertok #washingtondc #georgetown #howmuchdoyoumake ♬ original sound - Salary Transparent Street
Bored Panda reached out to Hannah Williams, a 25-year-old data analyst working in the D.C. metro area who is the creator of this much-needed and wonderful project called Salary Transparent Street. “I started posting about my unique career journey on TikTok in February, and one of my videos with my own personal salary transparency (I job-hopped 5 jobs over 2.5 years) went viral. My followers told me they loved my transparency, and I wanted to encourage more people to be transparent as well,” she said.
Williams said that she has always been very open and upfront about her salary, “but most people aren't.” She explained: “By talking with my community on my personal TikTok (@stocksandsquats), I heard people say that they thought discussing pay was illegal (myth!), and a lot didn't know how to negotiate their salaries or conduct market research. They realized they were being underpaid!”
I'm in grad school right now and I am working for the Washington Capitals.
Williams argues that “the 'taboo' and gatekeeping surrounding pay transparency is actually detrimental to most of us, and only benefits corporations who can get away with paying people less than they're due.” Therefore, her key message is to encourage people to break through that 'taboo' barrier and have these open conversations with their friends, colleagues, and family.
“Even though many people feel embarrassed or shy about their pay, we have to realize that our salaries say nothing about our value, our intelligence, or who we are as human beings, and talking about it helps a lot of people, combats the gender pay gap, improves diversity, and minimizes discrimination opportunities in organizations.”
When asked how people react to her invitation to share their salaries publicly, Williams said that surprisingly, many people are open to discussing their salaries. “Many people also recognize us now because we went viral, so I'm certain that has helped sway people who initially wouldn't have spoken with us. The majority of people who don't want to talk to us are either older, or may work in higher or lower paying jobs (I think this goes back to the feeling of embarrassment that we need to combat!).”
Williams believes that people don't like talking about their salaries because they're worried they'll be judged, and that people will associate their intelligence, value, or character with their pay. “This is incorrect! Our salaries say nothing about who we are, and the more open we are about our pay, the better we can combat this thinking.”
According to the creator of Salary Transparent Street, pay transparency is incredibly important. “If we don't know what people make in similar job fields, how are we supposed to benchmark what our salaries should be? Having these open conversations helps people better understand what they should be asking for from their employers, so that they don't get taken advantage of because that information isn't being discussed,” she said.
“Women and POC are frequently underpaid because of these reasons, and also because of higher instances of discrimination they face in the hiring process. Providing more reputable salary benchmarks for everyone to see will help reduce instances like this,” Williams told Bored Panda.
Right now, Williams will be embarking on a nationwide Salary Transparent Street tour soon and she will film the series in every single capital city across the country. “I think this series can have an enormous positive impact with people personally, but also within our society and how we view conversations surrounding pay. If I can encourage a single person to start having these conversations and help their peers, then I've succeeded in my mission (but I hope many more will feel this way, too!).”