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Why a TikToker Wants More People to Talk About Money

salary transparency-money-tiktok-data analyst
salary transparency-money-tiktok-data analyst
Photo by Nhu Nguyen Photography.

Salary transparency isn’t a given. In recent years, though, that information is becoming easier to access, thanks in large part to TikTok.

On this social media app, where an estimated 1 billion videos are watched each day, person-on-the-street videos with hosts querying passersby about what they earn have become a dime a dozen.

One influencer, Hannah Williams, has garnered a following of 1.2 million on TikTok by doing just that. As CNBC reported, Williams quit her job as a senior data analyst in May 2022 to start the video series, which eventually developed into a business, Salary Transparent Street, with her fiancé, James Daniels. 

Since inception, the business has raked in a reported $600,000 and the two live off of a $200,000 salary per year. (Williams had earned $115,000 per year in her previous role, according to a Salary Transparent Street video.)

Through her new business, Williams’ ultimate goal is empowering job seekers through education. “Through our interviews, we teach them things about the laws in their state, or things that they’re able to do in their career, like negotiation advice — things that have worked for people,” Williams said. “I think by seeing that, it gives them some form of inspiration, but also, like, I have these next steps and I know how to move forward.”

Nhu Nguyen Photography
Photo by Nhu Nguyen Photography.

Ultimately, salary transparency can help even the playing field for job seekers, Williams noted. “We have so many pay gaps right now that really affect marginalized communities: anyone that can be a victim of bias, whether you’re a woman or minority, someone with a disability or a member of the LGBTQ community. When you leave money up to a person and not fact, you leave room for pay gaps to occur.”

More than money

In her experience interviewing numerous employees across the country, Williams has also learned a thing or two about what they are — and aren’t — seeking out of work. Believe it or not, money may not always be their top priority, Williams said — empathy and flexibility are sometimes more important. 

“Whenever I ask people the best parts of their job, they always say the people,” Williams said. That starts with good managers, who can detect when workers need support or feel burnt out. “I think it’s really important to understand what your team needs. You shouldn’t be in the dark about how they feel.”

Benefits, Williams said, are another big draw. “Before [my fiancé] quit his job, he had the best health insurance we’ve ever seen before — it was completely free; his company paid for it. And I was like, ‘Wow, that’s novel in this country,’” Williams said. “So I think that taking those steps to really support your employees, maybe not through raises but by providing better benefits that make their lives easier and give them that balance — that’s the best thing you can do.”

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