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Executive Blog 22/8/2022

Is Your Salary A Secret?

Mal Stuart
By Mal Stuart
Is Your Salary A Secret?

Is Your Salary A Secret?

Do you reveal or conceal?


Unlike the US and UK, it is still legal in Australia to include pay secrecy clauses in employment contracts. Have your read the fine print in yours?


Earlier this year, Westpac scrapped its pay secrecy clauses, allowing around 40,000 employees to chat openly about their pay (interestingly on 1 April).  Does it matter and will anything change?  


Whether there are secrecy clause or not, salaries are not widely known in Australian workplaces.  We seem to treat the subject as private and confidential, only discussing it with our closest colleagues or friends.  


Proponents of salary transparency contend that there are good reasons for this growing practice.

  • Reducing the gender pay gap – salary transparency can facilitate progress in closing the gap (currently at 14% in Australia).
  • Motivation – when employees clearly understand the salary levels and reward potential, it allows them to strive to achieve the next level.
  • Trust – with secrecy and misinformation gone, salaries are more likely to be seen as fair and objective.


Further driving us towards pay transparency are websites like Glassdoor and Fishbowl.  Here you will find candid conversations and information about salaries in just about every job.


Something I have learnt over the years in recruitment is to ask candidates about their remuneration expectation, rather than what they are currently being paid.  This approach will generate a positive conversation about their future.


Revel or conceal, has this changed your view?