Pay Transparency Laws Give Job Seekers False Hope

Andrey_Popov /
Andrey_Popov /

When New York and California announced that they were requiring employers to be transparent about their wage practices in late 2022, many expected this to be a Godsend for improving their odds of getting a new career. Unfortunately, it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

Forever-unproven gender and racial pay gaps serve as the target behind this new law. Lawmakers thought it could eliminate reports of women and minorities being paid less because they don’t feel confident asking for more. As people are (understandably) more gun-shy about applying to positions without salary ranges posted, many are finding that NY and CA employers are using a deceptive bait-and-switch method to get their applications.

Just like that bucket of gummy bears with the foam block hidden in the middle that is often used as a raffle game, they found a way to make their jobs look better than they are and be legal, range pricing. With broad and unspecific job descriptions, these employers will post positions with a pay range that can go from $25k-$150k on a single position.

In this instance, $25k would be for someone brand new, who has never done any of this work before. $150k will be the rate of pay for the site manager after 15 years. However, as the position titles are the same in the breakdown as management is an “additional duty” once you evolve enough. While in sales this can mean a pathetic $25k base, and up to another $125k in commission, it is a deceptive practice.

Now, lawmakers in both states are upset that companies are following the laws as written to a T but are neglecting the “spirit” of the law. In their minds, these laws are written to make sure people know exactly what they are getting into, but as they are discovering, nobody knows until they are doing the job. Then again, that’s not exactly new, is it?