Bob Larson, CPC

Career Report

January  2018

Feature Story



Managing a generation of young people inclined to share their relationship statuses and meal photos on social media requires employers to adjust how they approach compensation, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. That’s because, for millennials, pay is not a topic they shy away from openly discussing.

“Pay and promotions are not secretive topics anymore,” said Mary Ann Sardone, who consults with large employers on compensation issues and leads the workforce-rewards practice at benefits consultant Mercer, a unit of Marsh & McClennan Cos.

“Companies are spending more time ensuring their pay decisions are fair and highlighting career paths under the assumption that the information is going to be widely shared,” she told the newspaper.

Roughly one-third of U.S. workers age 18 to 36 say they feel comfortable discussing pay with their co-workers, more than any age group and about four times the rate among baby boomers, ages 53 to 71, according to a survey of 1,000 employees conducted by personal-finance firm Bankrate Inc.’s

Nearly half of millennials surveyed say they talk about compensation with their friends, compared with 36 percent of Americans overall.

According to the article, when Cameron Feenstra received a job offer from Prattle Analytics, a St. Louis research firm, the first thing the 22-year-old did was call his sister. Although he was willing to take a below-market salary for the chance to work at a fast-growing start-up, he wanted to ensure his offer of $42,000 was fair salary for his role as a junior qualitative analyst.

After talking about salaries with friends and family, and consulting anonymous career and salary-sharing websites such as Glassdoor, Feenstra decided to negotiate for more money, even though it was his first real job in the field.

“People who don’t ask around never learn how to negotiate because they don’t know where everyone else is” in terms of salary as a reference point,” Feenstra told the newspaper. He got a pay bump to $45,000 before accepting the offer.

The attitude shift has put greater pressure on employers to explain why some workers are paid more than others and to formalize compensation and promotion practices, said Kristina Launey, a partner at law firm Seyfarth Shire LLP, which specializes in labor and employment issues.

Moreover, the article pointed out, a rash of new city and state ordinances in Philadelphia, New York City and Massachusetts bar hiring managers from asking job candidates about their salary history, pressuring companies to be more transparent about what they are willing to pay for many roles.

Bill MacMillan, Prattle co-founder and chief technology officer, said he is accustomed to requests like the one from Freenstra. But keeping the 19-person startup on good financial footing while offering competitive-enough salaries to retain talented workers is a delicate balance, he added.

“I have great people, so I would love to pay them lots and lots of money,” MacMillan told The Wall Street Journal. Instead, he said, the firm explains to job seekers that while their salary may start at a below-market level, their performance and pay will typically be reviewed at least twice a year—at which point he and other managers can be “aggressive” with raises for top performers.

Since Feenstra began working at Prattle, he has discussed his pay with several of his colleagues. The chats have given him an idea of what to expect when discussing future raises, such as when his boss reviews his performance later this year.


As the New Year begins we are very optimistic about hiring plans from many of our clients.  As 2017 closed with good job growth figures we are looking forward to a continuing or hopefully increasing pattern in 2018.

In anticipation of this trend we at BLK are planning to add to our talent discovery team in February to better serve our clients anticipated demands.

As always we thank each of you for your support and confidence in our talent discover process.  Wishing all a wonderful New Year and seamless hiring during 2018.