Pay transparency isn’t only an issue of gender—it’s about labor economics and an expanded economic pie. A key tenet of a free market economy, one based on supply and demand, is price transparency. Pay transparency works much the same way. In a free market economy, prices are transparent—you’re not keeping secrets about the cost of apples and oranges. Labor—in terms of salaries—is similar. This is because pay transparency is also about supporting a free market.
The concept of pay transparency isn’t new. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, has encouraged employees at all levels of the grocery company, from cashiers to the C-Suite, to access one another’s wage information dating back to 1986. Mackey, early in his career as an executive at Whole Foods, realized the benefits of fostering an equitable and transparent working environment.
While only a fraction of American companies have followed the lead of Whole Foods by choosing to emphasize pay transparency, the practice is gaining momentum.