New laws in New York and California require employers to include the salary range of a job in job ads. Theoretically this will help applicants apply for jobs that pay what they’re looking for rather than waste time playing “Guess the pay” before agreeing to interviews. Every law can be gamed. I can see companies posting ranges like $25,000-$100,000. Maybe they really plan to pay no more than $40,000. Do you think there’s any way a salary range law will help us?
Hah — you’re right. If there’s a law about pay, somebody’s going to game it! You actually offer a good example: meaninglessly broad salary ranges. Who’s going to police that?
What’s the story on salary range law?
Proponents of salary range laws say employers have been getting away with underpaying workers. Disclosure of salaries in job postings will supposedly fix that and bring fairness to hiring practices. (New York Times)
SHRM, a professional association for human resources managers, says these laws will cause “salary compression” because employers will be pressured to increase starting salaries so they can fill jobs in a competitive market. And they’ll pay for that by leaving existing employees’ pay stagnant.
Leading Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini points out that the New York City law permits employers to exclude the value of benefits, bonuses, commissions, equity and other forms of compensation from these disclosures. This creates a lot of leeway around the new requirements, and confusion around salary negotiations.
Will a salary range law help you?
I’m skeptical. I think it depends more on the company you’re dealing with and on how it implements the law, if your state even has a law. It helps to read a variety of reports about these salary range laws, which seem to be spreading across states. (So far, New York City, California, Washington State and Colorado are on the bandwagon.)
I’m more interested in how real job seekers — who experience all sorts of gaming of the employment system — view these new laws.
- Have you been exposed to this yet?
- Has it actually affected you, helping or hurting?
- Are companies playing games with salary range laws?
- How do you think this will affect your job-search experiences?
There’s no good answer about whether or how this will benefit job seekers. Penalties for failure to post salary ranges are up to $250,000. However, it seems that as long as an employer publishes a salary range, it is free to pay more or less than that range. Where does that get us?
Rather than count on the kindness of employers under the law, I think you’re best served by knowing how to negotiate to get the compensation you want.
Have you wasted your time interviewing for jobs that don’t pay enough? Will salary range disclosures be helpful? What kind of salary law would be helpful to job seekers?