Personal Finance

New York City helps kick off 'wave of pay transparency legislation' as workers demand full salary disclosure

Key Points
  • Soon more employers will share salary information with prospective employees as a growing number of states pass laws on pay transparency.
  • "We expect the recent wave of pay transparency legislation to continue," says WTW's Mariann Madden.
  • 98% of workers are in favor of salary disclosures, according to Monster.
Lauren Simmons on how to negotiate a bigger salary
Lauren Simmons on how to negotiate a bigger salary

Soon more job descriptions will include salary ranges.

New York City's Wage Transparency Law goes into effect on Nov. 1, making it mandatory for employers to share the salary or hourly wage in postings.

A growing number of states, including California, Connecticut, Colorado, Maryland, Nevada, Rhode Island and Washington are rolling out their own pay disclosure rules — or have already.

"We expect the recent wave of pay transparency legislation to continue," said Mariann Madden, director of work and rewards at benefits consulting firm WTW, formerly known as Willis Towers Watson.

However, "regulatory requirements are only one factor in the expected increase in disclosures and communication about pay," Madden added.

"Job seekers and current employees want to know and understand that they are treated fairly and are provided with equal opportunities to thrive and grow within the organization," Madden said.

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With or without legal requirements, workers overwhelmingly support of salary transparency — in fact, 98% said employers should disclose salary ranges in job postings, according to new data from Monster.

Most also said salary disclosure laws would have a positive impact on the future of work. The idea is that pay transparency will bring about pay equity, or essentially equal pay for work of equal or comparable value, regardless of worker gender, race or other demographic category.

More than half, or 53%, would refuse to even apply for a job that does not disclose the salary range, even in states where salary transparency isn't a law, Monster said. A separate survey by job search site Adzuna found that 33% of job seekers said they would not go to a job interview without first knowing the salary the employer is willing to offer.

That kind of margin could drive further change, according to Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster.

"Employers may realize this transparency is important to job seekers and start including it anyway without a mandate," she said.

Determine 'what you should be earning'

Salaries are in the spotlight as inflation weighs on most workers' financial standing.

While wage growth has been high by historical standards, it isn't keeping up with the increased cost of living, which is still rising at the fastest annual pace in about four decades, and that is leaving more workers unsatisfied with their pay.

What to do if you feel underpaid at your job according to Lauren Simmons
What to do if you feel underpaid according to Lauren Simmons

When it comes to determining what you should be earning, "don't rely on the job description alone," Monster's Salemi advised. "Know your worth based on your experience and skill sets and the norm for the industry you are in."

But pay isn't everything, she added. Other factors to consider include increased opportunities for advancement, flexibility and a healthy work-life balance, Salemi said.

Get the salary question 'out of the way'

"The reality is the job market is still strong," said Mandi Woodruff-Santos, career coach and co-host of the Brown Ambition podcast, and that gives job seekers more leverage when it comes to benefits and pay.

Woodruff-Santos advises clients to inquire about a position's salary during the initial phone-screening interview.

"I would ask them straight up: Do you have a budget for this role?" she said. "Then decide whether you want to proceed.

"I am in favor of getting it out of the way," she added.

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