Do we need pay transparency in Australia?

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A handful of companies in the UK and Australia are allowing staff to set their own salaries, see each other's rates and endorse co-workers' pay rise requests.

WATCH AN EXPLAINER AND EXPERT INTERVIEW ABOVE

Cogent, a Melbourne firm that helps start-ups manage digital platforms, keeps all finances ‘open’. How much the company earns, how profit is shared and staff wages are all transparent to the company’s employees. 

According to CEO, Mark Wells, transparency helps solve problems like pay grade negotiations. 

People pushing a transparent pay structure tend to argue that knowing what our co-workers earn would motivate us to do more ourselves, and it could be useful in cutting the gender pay gap.

But there are some people - like Institute of Public Affairs’ Aaron Lane – who don't buy those arguments.

"It could actually make things worse," he says, "in terms of dampening motivation, increasing the office politics."

Lane says businesses shouldn’t have to face more red tape – they should be free to make up their own mind.

Clearly, it’s working for some, but is pay transparency the best thing across the board?