Annual taxes in the United States are due in mid-April. Having just wrapped up filing taxes, the reference below feels timely.

You know for whom the tax season can be particularly stressful? Money launderers. Why? Because their actions are inevitably nefarious and paying taxes requires a certain level of forthcomingness that brings discomfort to money launderers, (to say the least). Similarly, pay transparency is an uncomfortable topic when you knowingly pay people inconsistent salaries for the same level of responsibilities.

Do you know for whom the tax season isn’t stressful? Those people who have nothing to hide, have kept impeccable records, and have reported all their earnings. In the same vein, salary transparency is a far less stressful and controversial topic when a company has a fair-pay policy along with accurately maintained records.

Maybe you find this analogy a bit extreme but unequal pay practices run rampant. Especially in Silicon Valley. See this exceptionally spunky example that one brazen recruiter felt compelled to bellow at the top of a twitter-hill:

A company thought the value of the job was at $130K. The candidate asked for $45K less. The candidate got what she asked for not what the company thought the job was worth.

Nefarious practices equal discomfort (and more). I bet pay transparency (at whatever company this tweet originated from) is a very stressful and uncomfortable topic at this company.  

Unequal salary for the same position, in the same city, for a comparable level of work experience and expertise, isn’t uncommon in tech. Often those who are better interviewers, negotiators, or of similar backgrounds as the hiring decision-makers have an advantage. It's an open secret in the industry that companies are, more often than not, happy to oblige those who come to the negotiating table with these advantages and conversely take advantage of those who don't come to the table with these skills.

At Stellate, we believe that pay transparency is the first line of defense to keeping this tweet from becoming our reality. Imagine how the scenario in the above tweet would have played out with an internally published open ranges and salaries. This tweet would never have happened.

Comp transparency isn't the only path to ensuring fair pay, but we've determined that this is the best path for us.

Fair pay policy doesn't mean anything if it's not enforceable; it's difficult to enforce anything behind a black box. By adopting an open salary policy, we're ensuring that fair pay isn't just an empty promise but an intentional initiative with means to hold each other accountable for fair pay and equity. This is a meaningful step to ensuring that diversity is met with equality and equality is a path to enabling a sense of belonging for everyone joining Stellate.