Employers and employees are so far apart in their views about compensation equity that it almost seems the groundwork is being laid for a revival of the labor movement.

However, the two parties are much closer on the question of whether they think company compensation communications are transparent, because neither party really thinks so.

These are two of the key findings of a survey by PayScale, which analyzed responses from more than 70,000 North American workers and 7,600 bosses.

When asked whether they felt their workers were fairly compensated, 73 percent of managers said, “Oh yeah!” But only 36 percent of workers said they were.

A similar gap emerged when the parties were asked whether employees were valued by their employers. Again, a huge majority of bosses said they valued their workers (78 percent). But only 45 percent of employees agreed.

The two groups were much more in alignment on the question of whether the employers were transparent about pay. Only four in 10 employers said they were, and two in 10 workers said “yes.”

Is there a silver lining? There is if you like the idea that there lots of room for improvement, said Tim Lowe, PayScale’s senior vice president of marketing. “There’s a real opportunity to manage the perception gap,” he said.

The survey results also revealed that employees want accurate and transparent pay information from their employers more than they want market-rate pay. More than eight in 10 said they would be fine with below-market-rate comp if their bosses offered them a truthful explanation for the gap.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.