Wage rage: Why disclosing a CEO’s salary is a bad idea

Boss at London-based Capita jumps out of the frying pan into employees’ ire by revealing his $1.2M annual take.

“Fat” is in the eye of the beholder.

Recently at a London outsourcing firm’s headquarters, employees circulated a pamphlet about the big boss’ status as a “fat cat.” He responded by insisting he is “only paid a weekly wage of £14,500,” reports the U.K. Daily Mail.

Employees at Capita, many of whom make about £6 an hour, grew furious, the paper reports, especially after CEO Paul Pindar pulled out company audited accounts to prove he makes about £770,000 per year.

That, communicators say, is no way to talk about your salary.

“I don’t know how it could not create ill will by disclosing it,” says Katrina Olson of Olson Marketing and an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana’s College of Media.

But is there a good way? That’s a tough one.

Frankly, there may not be.


Sean Williams of CommunicationAMMO says the Pindar example is “exhibit A to Z on how not to talk pay.” But talking about it in any capacity is generally a “no-win situation,” he says.

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