5 Key Takeaways We Learned from #TalkPay

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#TalkPay, like many hashtags, emanated from a grassroots movement. Laura Voswinkel, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based programmer, suggested the hashtag on Twitter as a fun way to celebrate May Day, and it caught on like wildfire. Over 1,300 individuals— mostly those in the tech industry all over the world — ended up posting their salaries online.

It is also during this time, many people freely discussed about their finances, the quest of looking for high interest saving accounts like the one offered by Clydesdale Bank as a means of saving their hard earned money, and their goals towards being financially free. This article will discuss five lessons or takeaways that the #TalkPay hashtag provided us about human behavior, wages, etc.

Not Everyone Changes Jobs to Make More Money

Many of the 1,300 individuals that shared their salaries, past and present, showed that they often would take less money to adopt a more fulfilling or creative role. For some, this meant going to another firm, into the non-profit sector, or even starting one’s own entrepreneurial venture. In other words, pay isn’t everything.

Even If One Wants to Share, They Decide Not to

Many individuals opted not to share their salary simply because they feared retribution from their employer. Some individuals cited NDA agreements barring them from discussing salary, while others simply felt it was unethical. Nevertheless, these individuals still indirectly took part in the event by tweeting that they would not be participating. It is estimated that many more commented upon tweets revealing pays than those who actually tweeted their pay.

Experts Have Doubts

Experts, such as Michael Bernstein, a professor and computer scientist at Stanford University, feel as if internet activism is good for spreading a message, but not necessarily leading change. His opinion is that it is hard to galvanize that a hashtag’s message into real, sustainable action. Others have expressed that while gathering individuals who think alike is great, without the backbone of an organization, it is all for naught.

Despite the Wage Gap…

Despite the wage gap between males and females, many male individuals who participated in #TalkPay admitted to Business Insider that their wife made more than them. Therefore, the wage gap is not always prevalent.

Consider All the Circumstances

When comparing multiple sets of quantitative data, it is too easy to try to compare one set of numbers to another without considering all of the circumstances. For example, pay is influenced by factors including age and location. One $ in one region is not the same as a value of £ in another region.


While it is yet to be seen if hashtags and social media can bring tangible change, it is safe to say that it can bring together a community of otherwise unconnected individuals. Social media looks to be here to stay.

Photo Credit: Dave Dugdale

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