Would You Share Your Salary With a Friend? Should You?

January 10, 2020, 12:06 PM UTC
Women are sharing salary information
Women are sharing salary information

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Paid leave for federal employees has a loophole, Sen. Kelly Loeffler encounters a potential conflict of interest, and women are talking about money. Have a wonderful weekend. 


- Money talks. Do you get the sense that everyone is talking about their salaries? Writing in the New York Times Style section, Jessica Bennett makes the case that the once-taboo subject has become something of a trending topic among women.

There are lots of good reasons to swap salary info with trusted friends and colleagues, as Bennett lays out: getting a sense of norms in your industry, providing ammunition to push for a raise when review time rolls around, gaining insight into whether (or, let's be real, to what extent) the gender or race pay gap is dragging down your earnings.

But it's not always a simple process. It's illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who share salary info, but that doesn't always stop bosses from doing so. Plus, it's possible to alienate those in your circle who might not feel so ready to open up about their financial lives. Then there's just the overall bummer of learning something unpleasant that you may not be able to immediately change: The NYT cites one academic study that found that learning their co-workers' salaries was likely to make employees miserable.

I'm curious whether any of you are seeing the trend Bennett cites. Are you asking—or being asked—about your compensation? Do you think your age or job level affects how often you have these kinds of conversations (most of the women quoted by the Times are in their 20s or early 30s)? What kinds of experiences have you had when you've talked salaries with friends? If you'd like to share, send me a note—and we may use your response in a future Broadsheet.

Kristen Bellstrom

Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe

Plus, be on the lookout: This month, Fortune will be launching a new site, app, video hub, magazine, and subscription package offering the best of business, all in one place. Tell your friends who are seeking insightful, top-notch business journalism. If you're looking for some newsletters to add to your daily digest, check out the forthcoming Bull Sheet, on finance news, and Eastworld, on business in China. 


- Career peak? Is leading Congress through the impeachment process the most important thing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will ever do? She doesn't love the question, but she acknowledges its significance. "I’m most proud of the Affordable Care Act. But this is the most serious initiative that I’ve been involved in in my career," she says. This profile follows Pelosi as impeachment moves forward; she held on to the articles of impeachment rather than sending them to the Senate yesterday. Time

- Leave loophole. More than 2 million federal workers are supposed to have access to paid family leave thanks to new legislation. But the bill excludes some federal employees who were thought to be covered, particularly Veterans Affairs medical personnel and Federal Aviation Administration workers; they fall under different sections of the U.S. Code governing personnel than the one the law amends. Unions and lawmakers are working to broaden the new leave policy's impact. Washington Post 

- CESex tech. The Consumer Electronics Show this year offered the annual tech trade show a chance to recover from last year's controversy: outcry over an award given to and then rescinded from Lora DiCarlo for a sex toy geared toward women. This year, writes Fortune's Chris Morris, sex tech stole the show. Fortune 

- Speedy Senate conflict. New Sen. Kelly Loeffler has her first assignments, which include the Senate Agriculture Committee. However, Loffler's husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, a company regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is—you guessed it—overseen by the Senate Agriculture Committee. In response to the potential conflict of interest, Loeffler says she will recuse herself on a case-by-case basis. Wall Street Journal

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Visa's Laura Barre Nadler joins Afterpay as CFO for its U.S. business. Talend hired three SAP Concur executives: Christal Bemont as CEO and board director, Ann-Christel Graham as chief revenue officer, and Jamie Kiser as chief customer officer. Erica Davis left her role as CMO of WeWork-owned Meetup. Verizon Media hired Gap Inc. chief technology officer Rathi Murthy in the same role. 


- First downThe Women's Football League Association hasn't launched yet, but it's already achieved some firsts. Track star, rugby player, and celebrity trainer Santia Deck signed a reported multimillion-dollar deal to play professional full-tackle football, making her the face of the burgeoning league. "That I’m now the highest-paid female football player to date only confirms God always has a plan," she said. The WFLA's debut season is expected in 2021. The Hill

- Who's a bad driver? Here's your daily dose of outrage: New York State Assemblyman Brian Kolb drove under the influence, and his state-owned car was found in a ditch near his home. But he tried to blame the DWI on his wife, telling a witness at the scene, "My wife was driving! You know how women drive." Kolb was found to have twice the legal blood alcohol limit. Democrat and Chronicle

- First partners. What's it like to be a campaign spouse? Evelyn Yang, Jane Sanders, Rosario Dawson (girlfriend of Cory Booker), Kamala Harris's husband Doug Emhoff, and other aspiring first partners describe the "surreal" experience. Washington Post

- A rule that's meant to be broken? Many companies have adopted the NFL's Rooney Rule to increase the racial and gender diversity of candidates for executive jobs. But the Rooney Rule hasn't even worked in the league where it was developed. Read on for more about the NFL's lack of coaching diversity and where the rule falls short: Bloomberg


Hustlers inspiration sues Jennifer Lopez’s company for $40 million LA Times

To guide the labor movement’s future, Sara Horowitz looks to its past New York Times

15 great books that speak to the lives of middle-aged women LitHub

Taraji P. Henson launches natural hair care line TPH by Taraji Essence


"When a woman speaks, she’s going to have something to say."

-Actor Florence Pugh on women-led films, in a Vogue profile

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