Wage Transparency: A Growing Trend

From February 2020 to February 2023, the percentage of U.S. job postings that included a pay range on the Indeed employment website rose from 18.4 percent to 43.7 percent. Driven largely, but not entirely, by state and local regulations, this 138 percent increase reflects a trend toward wage transparency.

As of July 2023, eight states and at least nine major municipalities required employers to practice wage transparency at varying levels. Other states have considered similar legislation, with Illinois on the verge of becoming the ninth state with a wage transparency law. In March 2023, U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced a federal “Salary Transparency Act“ that would require covered employers to disclose the wage range for open positions in job postings made publicly and internally.

Current regulations vary in the extent of wage transparency employers need to practice, as well as what size and type of firms are affected. California and Washington, for example, require full disclosure of a reasonable range of total compensation in all job ads for firms with 15 or more employees. Other jurisdictions demand that companies reveal the pay range for a position when they hire, promote, or, in Connecticut’s case, upon request. The fine for noncompliance can range from as little as a few hundred dollars in some states to as much as $10,000.

Every state and local law is different, but the message is clear: It’s only a matter of time before wage transparency is the rule for most U.S. businesses.


One complaint I’ve read in numerous articles is that companies frequently make the pay range for a position so wide that it doesn’t provide much information (e.g., Mechanical Engineer, 5 years experience, salary range $50,000 to $150,000/yr)

30 years ago when I was working in the Chemical Industry, I got a kick out of reading the want ads in Chemical Engineering magazine (e.g., PhD Chemical Engineer, 15 years experience, salary $15,000 to $25,000/yr) At the time, someone with those qualifications was making more than $100,000/yr at the Fortune 500 company where I worked.

Why would you waste your time posting an ad with such a low pay range?

Apparently under US Labor Dept and US Immigration regulations, if you can show that there are no US workers willing to fill a job at the posted pay range, you can bring in “Cousin Kumar” from the old country to fill the job, if he met the qualifications.



Good to know about CT.

CEOs making $27k/yr, no bonuses.