New York City's new salary transparency law took effect Tuesday, and overnight, thousands of job listings started to include two extra numbers: a minimum and a maximum wage or salary.
The law was designed to give job-seekers more information when negotiating their salaries and take away some of the leverage employers have during the hiring process.
Yet some employers have already received criticism for posting such wide salary ranges that prospective employees arguably still don't have a real sense of how they will be compensated.
The Wall Street Journal, for instance, posted a reporter position with a salary range of between $50,000 and $180,000 at the time this article was published. Other examples include a Deloitte position with a range of $86,800 to $161,200, and a corporate services role with a maximum that is nearly three times the minimum hourly wage.
It's unclear if such a wide gap between the maximum and minimum salary meets the law's standard of providing a "good faith" range, but some argue that these huge spreads don't serve either the employer or employee.
"I think a company is actually doing a disservice to themselves by creating really wide ranges," said Trey Ditto, CEO and founder of Ditto PR, a New York City-based public relations firm that started providing salary ranges back in 2019.
The problem, he explained, is that employees will start asking how they can get to that higher range, and if companies aren't serious about actually paying it, this erodes trust and leaves workers disappointed. The job-seeker, meanwhile, has a tougher time negotiating a salary when the range of possibilities is so vast.
Ditto said the whole point of transparent salaries is to spark open conversations between workers and their bosses.
"The great thing about salary ranges, in our experience, is that it literally forces conversation about growth," he said. "I have employees at the bottom end of the salary range saying, 'How do I get to the top end?' And we put together a plan on how they can get there."
That's not to say there are no challenges to making salaries more transparent. Ditto said the hardest part of the policy was getting all his employees up to the same level once they all knew each other's salaries.
"The second you create salary ranges there are going to be people who are overpaid and underpaid," he said. "And while some people might say, 'Isn't this awkward?' It isn't actually. I would encourage most employers to look at their salary ranges and look at their employees and then have real conversations about how to get people the salary they deserve."
These conversations required balancing concerns about experience, skill sets, and cost-of-living, he added.
"There were people who said, 'They make this much more than me,' and I'd say, 'Well, yeah, they live in New York, and you live in suburbia."