A Job With a Fair Salary? What Pay Transparency Laws Are Revealing.

 Last December, Yun Yati Naing embarked on a job search after graduating from Baruch College in New York City. She benefited from the city’s new law requiring employers to disclose salary ranges on job advertisements for companies with four or more employees. Ms. Naing, interested in finance, created an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of opportunities paying at least $50,000. 

She landed a job in financial services with a starting pay range of $54,000 to $79,000, negotiating an increase to $60,000. More laws mandating salary transparency are being enacted in various states and cities to reduce wage gaps. About 45 percent of job ads on Indeed now include pay range disclosure. For some, this transparency has uncovered wage disparities. Kimberly Nguyen, a poet, and UX writer, found a job posting for her own position, revealing a pay range of $117,200 to $175,800 compared to her salary of $85,000. The difference prompted her to apply for the position and seek clarification from management. 

Despite the attention her viral Twitter thread received, UX writer Kimberly Nguyen has yet to receive a raise or a full-time job opportunity at her current position at Photon, despite the salary disparity revealed by the job posting for her own job and her subsequent application for the new role at Citigroup. Since she spoke about the issue in June, there has been no progress. 

Three weeks ago, she learned her application had been rejected and has since been job hunting. While salary transparency laws have brought attention to wage disparities, some companies are posting job advertisements with salary ranges too broad to be useful. Researchers have found that high-paying industries are implementing wider salary ranges, while lower-paid positions are beginning to see more narrow ranges. Governments have been lax in enforcing transparency measures, issuing few fines or warning letters for non-compliance. However, many job applicants place importance on salary transparency, with about 85% indicating that they would be less likely to apply for a job if the company did not disclose the salary range in a survey by Adobe. 

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