Patrick McKenzie wrote an excellent post about compensation and salary transparency. The entire post is really informative, but for me, this passage is a true gem. Every word here is absolutely true:
Compensation negotiations are presently like a stock exchange where only your counterparty can see the ticker and order book. You’d never send an order to that exchange — it would be an invitation to be fleeced. “I happen to have a share of Google and want to sell it. What’s it go for?” “Oh, $200 or so.” “Really? That feels low.” “Alright, $205 then, but don’t be greedy.”
The spot price of Google when I write this is $535. Someone offering $205 for GOOG would shock the conscience. In the years since I wrote a post on salary negotiation for engineers I have received many letters suggesting folks have received and accepted employment offers much worse than that, relative to reasonably achievable market rates.
When you are done reading this post, go and read his post Salary Negotiation: Make More Money, Be More Valued. Really informative and useful.