Pay Transparency Legislation in New York Sparks Nationwide Shift in Job Listings

A significant development took place in New York this week as a new law mandating employers to disclose salary ranges for job positions came into effect. This requirement has not only influenced companies recruiting outside of the state but is also setting a new standard nationwide for including salary information in job descriptions.

Even when not legally mandated, providing a salary range for a job role has several advantages. Most notably, it helps reduce pay disparities and serves as an effective tool for attracting well-qualified candidates to specific job openings. According to Seher Khawaja, a senior attorney at Legal Momentum, an advocacy organization for women that played a role in drafting the legislation, “Employers say that when they post good faith salary ranges, they get better candidates because job applicants are better suited to the role.” Additionally, this transparency saves both employers and candidates valuable time, preventing unnecessary rounds of interviews for positions that ultimately don’t meet salary expectations.

New York City has also enacted its own pay transparency law, effective since November. This legislation followed Colorado, which passed pioneering pay transparency legislation in January 2021. Several other states, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Washington, have either passed or implemented similar laws.

As the movement toward pay transparency gains momentum, even candidates in states without such laws are benefiting from the trend, with more employers voluntarily disclosing salary information in job postings. Khawaja noted, “A lot of candidates are just not looking at postings that don’t have the salary range, so we are seeing a culture shift that this will be an expectation. Employers are posting ranges even when there’s no legal mandate to gain a competitive edge.”

The impact of pay transparency is evident not only in New York but across the United States. Job postings that include salary information saw a significant increase in anticipation of the New York law taking effect this month. In August, a remarkable 50% of U.S. job postings on the online job board Indeed included salary details, marking the highest percentage ever recorded by the platform. This is a substantial increase from the 18% of postings that included pay ranges in February 2020.

This newfound transparency empowers jobseekers in negotiations. Armed with knowledge about an employer’s willingness to pay for top-tier candidates, job seekers can aim for the higher end of the salary range.

However, it’s essential to note that some employers may attempt to work around these laws by posting overly broad salary ranges. Both New York laws require companies to provide a “good faith estimate” of a job’s salary. Defining what constitutes a “good faith” range and incorporating this definition into written legislation is the next step in addressing pay discrepancies, according to Khawaja.

Providing salary ranges offers context for job seekers, serving as a useful starting point for negotiations. Without this information, candidates remain uncertain about an employer’s compensation expectations. Arianny Mercedes, founder of Revamped, a career and workplace consultancy, advises candidates without salary information to conduct their own research, including internet searches and using resources like Salary.com. They can also compare job postings without salary information to similar openings in states with pay transparency laws.

Another valuable source of information is speaking with individuals already in similar roles. Janice Killion, an employment attorney for JustAnswer.com, suggests that talking to peers in the same field can provide insight, allowing candidates to negotiate a competitive base salary effectively.

In states without laws requiring salary transparency, it’s important to approach salary discussions confidently. Instead of asking the company for a salary range, state your desired salary range and inquire whether it aligns with the role. This proactive approach can help prevent being offered a lower salary than expected.

In conclusion, New York’s salary transparency law is reshaping the landscape of job postings and negotiations, not only in the state but across the entire U.S. As pay transparency becomes the norm, candidates and employers alike are benefiting from a more informed and equitable hiring process.

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