A First Glimpse into the Impact of Pay Transparency in New York City


November 18, 2022

Key Findings

  • Pay ranges are being published on the majority of active job listings. 60 percent of job listings in New York City have employer-provided salaries as of November 12, and there are hints of a spillover effect to neighboring states.
  • Ranges have widened significantly, but remain relatively narrow. The median width of salary ranges has widened from $10,000 in October to as wide as $20,000 so far in November. Less than 3 percent of daily active job listings in November have a salary range wider than $100,000.
  • Professional services like Financial Services, Information Technology and Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology are the slowest to add pay ranges to their pay ranges. This may mean enforcing pay transparency will matter more in these higher-salary industries than in lower-wage industries.

On November 1, New York City’s pay transparency law went into effect, requiring job listings to include salary ranges. While the move represents an opportunity for job seekers to get greater pay transparency, high-profile errors as the new law went into effect have raised concerns about the efficacy of the law. With similar laws going into effect on January 1, 2023 in California and Washington State, we examined Glassdoor data to give an early view into how employers are grappling with pay transparency in New York City.

To answer this question, we analyzed data from Glassdoor’s job search platform, identifying job listings with employer-provided salaries. As employers and HR systems take time to adjust to the new law, our estimates of the share of job listings with employer-provided salaries are likely a lower bound.

Salary Disclosure in Job Listings Has Increased

By and large, employers are complying with the law. The share of daily active job listings with employer-provided salaries stands at 60 percent as of November 12. The chart below shows that the share of job listings with disclosed salaries actually began rising in mid-October rising from 30 percent at the start of the month to 39 percent on October 31.

Notably, the rise in salary disclosure is not limited to New York City proper. The chart above shows that the share of job listings with provided salaries in neighboring areas (New Jersey, Connecticut and New York State excluding New York City) has increased too from 40 percent at the start of October to 46 percent as of November 12.

For the time being, the rest of the United States shows only marginal changes, rising from 41 percent on October 1 to 44 percent as of November 12. This change is too small to definitively attribute to the new law, especially as the impact is likely largest in neighboring regions, but it does highlight a potential spillover benefit of New York City’s law.

As a major talent hub, New York City has the potential to influence employer policies for neighboring areas as well as the rest of the United States. Employers already complying with the new law may decide to make pay transparent regionally or nationally to simplify compliance or to avoid fairness concerns from employees and job seekers.

Disclosed Salary Ranges Have Widened Slightly

One concern raised about the new law is whether employers will actually provide “good faith” pay ranges as required. Already, job seekers have highlighted job listings with pay ranges that seem too wide to be useful. When the pay transparency law went into effect, we saw that salary ranges widened, but the median salary range remains fairly narrow. 

At the start of October, the median width of employer-provided salary ranges was $10,000. Ranges began widening shortly before the law passed and the median width reached $20,000. Based on this, the median width of pay ranges have almost doubled from before the law passed to today. However, even $20,000 could be considered a narrow pay range for some jobs.

We do find that pay ranges have indeed largely widened across salary levels. For example, for jobs where the median salary is between $101,000 and $200,000, the median width of provided salary ranges widened from $35,000 in October to $41,600 in November. Notably, jobs that pay less than or equal to $40,000 have not seen their median pay ranges widen significantly as many of these jobs have no band and are simply a single preset wage.

Table 1: Median Width of Employer-Provided Salary Ranges in New York City

SalaryOctober 2022November 2022 (MTD)
≤$40,000$0$0
$40,001-$70,000$8,000$8,448
$70,001-$100,000$15,000$19,000
$100,001-$200,000$35,000$41,600
>$200,000$75,000$72,000
Note: “Salary” is defined as the stated or inferred midpoint of the salary range provided by employers.
Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (www.glassdoor.com/research)

Digging deeper into the data, we find that less than 3 percent of daily active job listings so far in November have a salary range wider than $100,000, a very rare occurrence. This suggests that the vast majority of employers are not resorting to obfuscating pay through very wide ranges, but it does also signal to job seekers that unless they are searching for jobs making over $200,000, they should be wary of ranges wider than $100,000 as they are extremely unusual. By contrast, 75 percent of job listings have a range equal to or less than $30,000, a more reasonable range.

Pay Transparency Varies Substantially by Industry

So far, in November, the industries with the highest share of job listings with employer-provided salaries are Government & Public Administration, Nonprofit & NGO, and Human Resources & Staffing. Government agencies and nonprofits often have stricter transparency rules than private companies that predate the new law. Staffing agencies also tend to be more open sharing the pay range as they look for contractors or temps to fill their roles. 

By contrast, the industries with the lowest share of job listings with disclosed salaries are Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology (29 percent), Information Technology (37 percent) and Financial Services (37 percent). These professional industries have a substantial number of high-income workers and their pay ranges can often vary widely based on experience and skills. Employers in these industries may be wary of sharing information that could alienate their current employees. 

Notably, however, Financial Services did have the largest increase in the share of job listings with disclosed pay, rising from just 5 percent in October to 37 percent in November. However, other professional industries with similarly low pay transparency before the new law still saw large increases ending up with much higher disclosure rates, like Media & Communication (13 percent to 61 percent) and Legal (17 percent to 57 percent).

Table 2: Sectors with the Highest Share of Job Listings with Employer-Provided Salaries

SectorOctober 2022November 2022
(MTD)
Government & Public Administration62%69%
Nonprofit & NGO52%68%
Human Resources & Staffing62%67%
Transportation & Logistics47%63%
Media & Communication13%61%
Restaurants & Food Service47%61%
Arts, Entertainment & Recreation24%60%
Healthcare27%58%
Legal17%57%
Management & Consulting36%57%
Retail & Wholesale24%56%
Insurance17%54%
Personal Consumer Services32%54%
Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services20%53%
Education29%52%
Real Estate21%52%
Telecommunications19%51%
Energy, Mining & Utilities38%48%
Hotels & Travel Accommodation23%48%
Aerospace & Defense27%43%
Manufacturing18%41%
Financial Services5%37%
Information Technology14%37%
Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology13%29%
Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (www.glassdoor.com/research)

Notably, some industries that have faced significant labor shortages in the last two years—like Transportation & Logistics, Restaurants & Food Service, and Arts, Entertainment & recreation—appear near the top of the list. This could be due to more rigid pay scales in these industries or due to increased competition over the last few years pushing employers to advertise their pay to attract job seekers.

Interestingly, the industry trends show that pay transparency tended to be lowest in professional industries before the law went into effect. Perhaps, counter-intuitively, the pay transparency may have the most benefit for these professional industries like Financial Services where pay is opaque while having less benefit for industries like Restaurants & Food Service where pay was already relatively transparent but workers may have limited bargaining power.

Conclusion

New York City’s new pay transparency law follows Colorado’s example and the impact we’re seeing so far in November presages what we might expect in California and Washington State at the start of 2023. We are seeing employers are largely complying with the law. Salary ranges are wider now that the new law is in effect, but we are not seeing evidence of widespread attempts to obfuscate pay through unnecessarily broad pay ranges. While it will take time to see the full benefit of these new laws, increasing pay transparency represents a significant shift for the job market and gives an opportunity for job seekers to level the playing field. 

Our Data and Methodology

This analysis is based on data from Glassdoor’s job search platform from October 1, 2022 through November 12, 2022. Daily active job listings are counted if they have at least one job seeker impression on a given day. Employer provided salaries are either provided directly or are parsed from the job description. Our dataset includes tens of thousands of daily active job listings in New York City, over a hundred thousand job listings in nearby states and over a million job listings in the rest of the U.S.

Because of several factors, our estimate of the share of job listings with provided salaries is likely a lower bound of the true share. For example:

  • Job listings posted before November 1 without pay ranges could still be counted after November 1 if they are still visible to job seekers.
  • Salaries may not always be parseable, even if they are provided in the job description.

Industries are assigned to employers based on canonical Glassdoor industries.

Correction: A previous version misreported the data in Table 1, overstating the median widths of employer-provided salary ranges in both October and November. Updated with the correct data on December 22, 2022.

To speak with Daniel Zhao about this report, please contact pr@glassdoor.com. For the latest economics and labor market updates follow @DanielBZhao on Twitter, connect on LinkedIn, and subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research.