In many Swiss companies, wages are a well-kept secret. Particularly in SMEs, which generally do not have fixed wage categories, this can lead (often unintentionally) to systematic discrimination against women and other diversity groups. Without an internal benchmark, employees depend even more on negotiating skills and a confident self-presentation in salary negotiations.
However, the more inequality there is between salaries, the more potential for conflict in introducing salary transparency. In many cases, therefore, a gradual introduction of measures to provide transparency of wages makes sense: "Procedural wage transparency" initially discloses how salaries are determined. "Distributive wage transparency" also makes individual wage information available. As an accompanying measure, "communicative wage transparency" in internal exchanges should also be promoted, allowing employees to talk openly about their wages.
Wage transparency establishes a common knowledge base on salaries, and supports companies in initiating a meaningful dialogue around wages. In combination with objective promotion criteria and collective profit-sharing, wage transparency can create the conditions for wage equality. In the long term, wage transparency contributes to developing an open culture of discussion, a trusting working atmosphere, and increased employee commitment. In the innovation sector, wage transparency also helps to retain highly qualified specialists and creative talents: they stay with an employer for a more extended period when they perceive their salary to be fair. Therefore, wage transparency makes it more difficult for competitors to lure these talents and specialists away.