It generally isn’t considered polite to ask colleagues, friends, or even family about their salary – but now you can ask LinkedIn.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based social network’s newest feature, LinkedIn Salary, invites its 460-million-plus members (approximately 106 million of whom are active) to submit their position and location – and learn the average salaries for similar positions in the area of their choice in return.

“I work on the side of the business that’s focused on helping job seekers find new careers… and one thing we’ve found is that… members ask a lot about compensation information,” LinkedIn product manager Ryan Sandler tells ITBusiness.ca. “It’s one of their top priorities when looking for a new opportunity.”

LinkedIn product manager Ryan Sandler
LinkedIn product manager Ryan Sandler hopes the company’s new LinkedIn Salary feature will be a boon for its 106 million-plus active members.

To help curious users out, the company quietly began seeking input from its members earlier this year, soliciting compensation information in exchange for salary insights.

“So essentially members started getting e-mails saying, ‘compare your salary to other software engineers in the Bay Area’ – they would provide their salary and in exchange receive insights about how much other users were making,” Sandler says. “We found that members were happy to provide their information if they were getting something in return.”

The service was formally launched on Nov. 2, after the company had secured information from more than 15 million members, he says.

In addition to providing salary information, the service includes bonus and equity data for certain job titles, and even factors that affect pay such as years of experience, industry, company size, location, and education level – and eventually, Sandler hopes, skills.

Befitting its delicate nature, any salary information entered into LinkedIn is immediately encrypted, he notes.

Thus far, Sandler says, feedback to the service has been very positive, with salary information coming from a wide range of industries including tech, finance, and healthcare.

“The feeling that we got from members when we did our research was that there previously wasn’t a lot of reliable information out there about salaries,” he says. “They’re very happy to see LinkedIn get into that space and become a reliable provider of that data.”

Any member of LinkedIn can log into the service and search for average salaries across thousands of roles and locations, though free members will be required to contribute their own salary information. Premium members can access the service regardless.

LinkedIn Salary is currently available to all desktop and mobile users in the U.S., Canada and U.K, with the company eyeing a global rollout for 2017.

For a visual breakdown of the service’s features you check out the video below, or visit the LinkedIn Salary website here.

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