Pay secrecy norms have ‘simply lost their teeth,’ say experts. Here’s why

by | Sep 18, 2023 | Financial

Westend61 | Westend61 | Getty ImagesPay transparency is on the rise for job applicants — and momentum suggests that trend will continue, experts said.In August, 50% of online job listings advertised salary, up from 18.4% in February 2020, according to Indeed Hiring Lab, the economic research arm of career site Indeed. Such businesses disclose an exact salary or a salary range.The growth is largely attributable to recent pay transparency laws enacted by states and municipalities. In addition, job seekers also recently had historically high leverage as employers clamored to hire workers at the reopening of post-pandemic economy.”With the growth of such pay transparency, the lingering norms and policies around pay secrecy have simply lost their teeth,” Tomasz Obloj and Todd Zenger, professors at Indiana University and the University of Utah, respectively, recently wrote in Harvard Business Review.More from Personal Finance:Tipping in restaurants falls for the first time in yearsThe wage gap costs women $1.6 trillion a year, new report findsWomen are likely to face financial curveballs in retirementIt appears pay transparency rates “will continue to climb,” said Cory Stahle, an economist at Indeed.The Indeed stats don’t include ads that post only a maximum salary, due to the ambiguity of the practice, Stahle said. (Those might say a worker can earn “up to” $20 an hour, without stipulating a floor, for example.)New York just adopted a pay transparency ruleNew York on Sunday became the latest state to adopt a pay transparency law. Employers in the state with at least four employees must make a “good faith” salary disclosure in job postings.It joins California, Colorado and Washington state, as well as New York City.The pay transparency movement is relatively new. Colorado was the first state to pass such a law, in 2019, and it took effect on Jan. 1, 2021.Other local governments — like the city of Ithaca, along with Albany and Westchester counties in New York, and Jersey City in New Jersey — have enacted pay transparency laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.Other states have taken “a slightly more flexible approach,” NCSL said.For instance, states and municipalities such as Cincinnati and Toledo in Ohio; Maryland; Connecticut; Rhode Island; and Nevada have passed laws that allow employers to disclose salary ranges to job applicants upon request, according to the National Women’s Law Center.A “profusion” of websites — like,, and — have also provided “rather open ac …

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