“Knowledge is power,” Sir Francis Bacon once wrote—and entrepreneur Robert Hohman agrees. That’s why he created Glassdoor.com, a website to empower workers. Launched in June, the site details what it’s really like to work for a company, warts and all. More importantly, it also pries open the taboo subject of people’s salaries by encouraging workers to anonymously post how much they’re paid.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised at how honest and sincere employees have been in describing their work experiences,” says Hohman, speaking to Maclean’s from his company’s office in Sausalito, Calif. For example, BMO has a “bleak corporate culture,” according to a former research assistant, while Starbucks used to be a great place to work, but is “now run by micromanaging sorority types.” A project manager at Bell Canada advises that if you “want to be the best in your field—you’ll be very frustrated at Bell.” Other companies, such as Dell Canada and Wal-Mart Canada, fared surprisingly well, eliciting mostly positive reviews and high ratings, which are scored out of five.
In total, there are 11,000 companies on the site. Most are American, but there are a number of major Canadian firms such as Air Canada, Rogers, Vancity, RBC Financial, Ontario Power Generation and Canada Post. You can also find reviews of the Canadian branches of many international companies, such as Home Depot, Best Buy, Ikea and SAP.
To access the really detailed information— such as the fact that technicians at Bell earn $65,355 a year—you have to post your own salary and write a review. The content is almost entirely user-generated, and the company mantra is “give to get.” Of course the interesting part is seeing how your salary compares to that of your colleagues. And if you find out it’s lower? You might be able to use that information to get a raise.