NYC Law Requires Private Companies to Post Salary Ranges on Job Listings

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  • New York City just passed a bill requiring private employers to post salary ranges on job listings.
  • It's a move that could make the process of finding a job much easier.

More transparency is a good thing for job seekers.

If you've ever been in the market for a new job, you've probably encountered this scenario: You're deep into the interview process and things are going great until your prospective employer drops a salary bomb. Suddenly, thoughts of pursuing that awesome job are out the door because it turns out the salary range your potential employer has in mind won't come close to helping you cover your living costs.

It's a common point of frustration for job searchers that companies often post job listings without any indication as to what they're looking to pay. But in New York City, that's about to change.

More pay transparency to come

Starting in April, private employers in New York City will be required to post salary ranges for open jobs. To be clear, similar laws already exist in select parts of the country. But given that New York City has a huge job market, this change is significant.

A big reason why this change is being made is that keeping salary data a secret puts workers at a disadvantage -- and makes it harder for them to go after an equitable wage. By requiring companies to disclose salary ranges up front, the hope is that job seekers will have an easier time narrowing down their choices and going after the pay they deserve.

There's also the thought that more pay transparency across the board could help narrow the gender pay gap. It's hardly a secret that women are statistically likely to earn less money than their similarly qualified male counterparts. If companies are more open about what they're paying, it could help expose -- and prevent -- unjust pay practices.

What salary should you go after?

If you're looking for a job, it's important to seek out opportunities that will pay you a reasonable wage -- one that allows you to not only keep up with your bills, but also build savings and work toward other goals. Once more companies start posting salary ranges in conjunction with job listings, it could make the process of finding a job easier. But it's also important to know what salary to target.

To that end, it's really on you to do your research and figure out what you're worth before applying to new jobs. Survey people in your industry and aim to get a sense of what their wages look like.

You can also talk to your colleagues about what they make, even if your company discourages that. Technically, your employer cannot stop you from discussing that information, but keep in mind that it could make for an awkward situation at work, so proceed with caution.

At the same time, look up data on sites like Glassdoor, which allow you to look at salaries on a regional basis for a more accurate comparison.

Finally, take your skills and credentials into account. It may be that the average junior accountant in your city makes $50,000 to $60,000 a year. But if you have a specific set of skills or a certification that most people in your position don't, that could make the case for higher wages.

The fact that New York City is making changes to promote wage transparency is a positive step. If more cities follow suit, it could result in many positive changes not just for job seekers, but across the labor force on a whole.

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