Whether you get paid fairly for the work you do is a mystery surrounded by a lack of information. That could change, however, thanks to pay transparency. As the trend spreads, more and more companies are beginning to reveal what a job posting or current position pays, either voluntarily or because governments require it.
requiring companies to disclose pay scales in job postings and on their websites aims to equalize bargaining power between employers and employees, empower workers while reducing long-standing relationships for women and people of color.
Women’s median full-time earnings were about 83% of men’s earnings in 2021, according to federal data.
Women of color fare even worse. Black women earn 64 cents for every dollar paid to non-Hispanic white men, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Here’s how the new factor can come into play if you’re looking for a job or want a raise this year.
Navigate salary ranges
So far, a dozen states and municipalities have mandated access to salary information, including California, Colorado, Washington, and New York. Businesses in jurisdictions are generally required to post pay scales indicating the minimum and maximum wage. The rules vary: sometimes only job applicants need to be notified, while other times current employees can also request information about their pay scale.
Roberta Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting in Boston, consults with companies seeking top talent. She believes that pay transparency “is a step in the right direction”.
“Knowledge is power. So, you know, if you have no idea that you can possibly make more money, then you wouldn’t even ask,” Matuson said.
Is this the end of salary negotiations?
Pay transparency won’t eliminate salary negotiation, said Lexi Clarke, vice president of people at Payscale, a national compensation data and services provider. Instead, Clarke said it would encourage discussions about current and future salary expectations.
This will help employees and candidates “understand what their expectations should be, and where the limits are (salaries) and where there might be flexibility. This levels the playing field between employers and candidates to have a more open and transparent conversation,” she said.
And Lulu Seikaly, senior corporate lawyer at Payscale, noted that as the laws currently stand, employers are not prevented from offering a salary above a posted range for a position, as long as the company can provide. an objective reasoning for the exception.
In the past, companies often based salary offers on what an individual earned in previous jobs, Seikaly said. “Many states have banned this now.”
If a potential employer asks you for your salary history, Matuson said, “I wouldn’t refuse to answer; I’d say, ‘Well, tell me what you offer for this position. I would simply return the question. »
Will pay gaps be eliminated?
Pay transparency reveals pay ranges, but does it reduce gender and ethnic pay gaps? It may be too early to tell.
However, Payscale’s Clarke said organizations that are more open about pay often have a well-defined pay structure and are less likely to have pay inequities.
She predicts how the gender pay gap could narrow: “Women’s wages will rise to where they should be – some overpaid men’s wages may fall slightly, to be more in line with what they should be.”
And if you are in the low end?
If you find out you’re at the bottom of a salary bracket, Clarke said salary transparency will help you communicate with an employer about what you think you deserve, “And you anchor all of that in data, which is really powerful,” she adds.
Matuson advises asking your employer how you can add more value and what skills you need to increase your salary and promotion opportunities.
And it’s not just about the money, she adds.
“There are other things you might ask,” Matuson said. “For example, you might say, ‘It would help if I could work from home two days a week so I don’t spend $50 or more a week on gas. Would that be okay?'”
What if you are at the top of the pay scale?
What if you find out you’re at the top of your job’s pay range? One result could be a squeeze on wages at the top of a pay scale, with the highest paid workers facing growing resistance to wage increases. Should you fear being maxed out and being among the first employees to be laid off?
“Well, I think you should always be thinking, ‘I could be cut,'” Matuson said. But she adds that even if you’re not actively looking for a job, call a few headhunters to determine salary ranges for your current job and potential opportunities.
If you’re trying to determine a suitable salary for where you are in your career, several websites offer tools that help you see a relevant salary range. Check out Payscale, Indeed, Glassdoor, and Salary.com for such tools.