New pay transparency laws can help with salary talks

It’s the dreaded question in a job interview – how much do you expect to make? But since May new pay transparency laws in New York City will transform the way the sensitive issue is addressed by both job seekers and employers.

In an effort to close the pay gap, employers with four or more employees in the private sector in New York City are required to post minimum and maximum salary ranges in their job listings, similar to laws in Connecticut, Colorado and Nevada.

According to the Personnel management company, job seekers consider salary, qualifications, and duties in that order. How does this affect the hiring process? We asked the experts to comment.

It’s a matter of scale

Job postings list salary ranges, so a conversation about your position on the scale should follow during the interview, said Richard Deosinh, district president at Talent Solutions Firm Robert Half in middle town.

“This [transparency] certainly helps, but it’s not the end of everything,” he said. “At some point during the natural course of the application process you ask, ‘Where would I fall given my experience and contribution to that salary range?’ That should make the conversation a little easier.”

Negotiate anyway

Just because salaries are quoted doesn’t mean they’re set in stone.

NYC water taxi on the East River with the Lower Manhattan skyline in the background.
New York City’s new Salary Transparency Act requires employers to post salary ranges on job postings.
Paul Martinka

“Now here’s what you hear: everything is negotiable,” said Chris Westfall, author of Easier: 60 Ways To Make Your Work Life Work for You (Wiley). “If you don’t negotiate, you’ll never know if you’ve maximized the opportunity. Be proud of your work and calmly and without bias ask for the salary and benefits you deserve.”

If you’re not a negotiation expert, Westfall suggests working with a coach who can help you “practice asking what you want.”

Terri Wein, Co-CEO of the Midtown-based global careers consultancy Because & wine, said to negotiate as you would if payment were not transparent. “In the current market, job seekers have more power in the negotiation process,” she said. “Companies often have leeway, especially when a company cannot find a candidate in this tight job market. Scope can come in the form of a higher base salary, annual bonus, equity, commission, signing bonus, higher title and more. Listen to the offer and then plan your counter offer.”

Pay attention to responsibilities

Deosinh advised job seekers to ensure that the responsibilities of the position, company culture and purpose align with long-term goals. “And not just, ‘Oh, it’s a big salary, let me do it,'” he said. “If you’re not prepared [to work] at the back end it will be short-lived. Spend time preparing, understanding where you’re going, then planning that many years in advance and balancing it with opportunities.”

A Brandon Motor Lodge shows a "Job offers" sign Brandon, Florida, USA, June 1, 2021.
CEO Terri Wein argues that “job seekers” can bargain more while companies face labor shortages.
REUTERS/Octavio Jones/FILE

The pay scale can tip

If areas in the job description indicate something, but your job listing differs, there may be a valid reason.

“There can be legally permissible reasons for an employer to deviate from an advertised salary range,” said attorney Mark Kluger from the managing law firm for labor law Smart Healey in Fairfield, New Jersey. “For example, if a candidate responds to the ad and does not have the experience or specific skills that the employer is looking for, but the employer sees great potential and wants to hire them, that could be a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the employer.” to offer a lower starting salary than advertised.”

The same can happen in reverse – if a candidate wants more than what is on offer and is exceptional, the employer will fulfill the demand.

“There is nothing illegal about any of these scenarios,” Kluger said. “In fact, the new law speaks of the employer having a good faith belief in the salary range at the time of the posting. What would make an employer liable is if the employer lowers the employee’s wage rate after accepting the job offer.”

Look at the big picture

As always, reservation emptoror buyers beware, says Westfall.

“Make sure you’re looking at the whole package, not just the salary,” he said. “Like getting a great deal on a car – if it’s not really the car you want or the car that can handle all your stuff, you haven’t really gotten a good deal.” Pay transparency adds a layer of information and choice, which is always a good thing for people looking for a job.”

Do you see that your current position is being advertised for more money than you make? Negotiate

If your employer is posting a position that is similar to yours but has a higher salary, Wein recommends speaking to your manager. “Keep it short, firm and positive,” she said. “Don’t let it affect your morale. Think of it as negotiating a transaction that needs adjustment, not an assessment of your value. “I see our company is offering X salary for my position. I’m so glad the company adjusts salaries to reflect market value. I expect my salary will now be adjusted to reflect this higher salary.’ ”

Business people having video conference in office.  Businessmen and women holding web conference in office boardroom.
Job salary shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when considering a new job.
Getty Images

However, you are probably not guaranteed a salary adjustment by law.

“Employees without an employment or collective agreement are employees, so they have no legal right to certain working conditions,” says Kluger. “Depending on market conditions, this is not an uncommon phenomenon – when employers are struggling to find qualified candidates, the market demands higher wages than incumbent employees are earning.”

Your refuge might be to walk.

“Apply to another employer and request the higher tariff,” said Kluger. “Tell the boss your intent — see if that gets a raise.” New pay transparency laws can help with salary talks


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