I always try pushing them to give the number, partly because you’ll usually get a better number, and partly because you get a general idea of how much they’re paying the rest of their staff
To me, the issue has it's roots in viewing everything as a competition, even within some companies it can seem like your competing with your coworkers rather then working towards a goal. Once you establish that environment it's easy to see why • salaries remain constant for years after the initial negotiation, after all, they have already purchased your "time" and that's what your paid in relationship to, not the company success. • there is a lot of talk about company loyalty, but little substance, as the only mobility left to the workets is to leave and re negotiate a higher salary. But competition does exist and we do have to deal with it. So here we are, and if you give someone that sheet and the next person (of equal qualifications) just lists a lower number then your not employed. I'm guessing a team of equal qualifications and mutual respect and trust does far better every time. But it requires more effort and time put into viewing the business as part of everyone's life, rather then the other way around. It also means the people at the top have to give up on the idea of making a disproportionate amount of the profits.