The Landscape of Pay Transparency at the Start of 2023

Daniel Zhao

January 17, 2023

Key Findings

        As 2023 kicked off, new pay transparency laws went into effect in California and Washington state, joining Colorado and New York City and expanding these new laws to cover regions that hold over 1 in 6 American workers. 

        In November, we analyzed the early impacts of the New York City pay transparency law as seen on Glassdoor. In this research, we look at how the new laws in California and Washington are progressing. Our analysis uses data from Glassdoor’s job search platform, identifying job listings with employer-provided salaries.

        Salary Disclosure Rises as Laws Go Into Effect

        Ahead of the laws going into effect on January 1, 2023, California and Washington employers began disclosing their salaries more often. On December 1, 2022, 41 percent of daily active job listings on Glassdoor in California had pay ranges provided by the employer, which steadily rose to 54 percent by the end of December before the law had even gone into effect. Similarly, in Washington, the share of listings with employer-provided salaries rose from 46 percent at the start of December to 60 percent at the end.

        As of January 8, the share of listings with employer-provided salaries has continued rising to 61 percent in California and 66 percent in Washington. Similarly, the share has also grown in New York City to 65 percent, after its pay transparency law went into effect on November 1.

        Just under 2 in 3 daily active job listings have employer-provided salaries in these three regions, while in Colorado, which implemented a similar pay transparency law at the start of 2021, about 4 in 5 job listings have salaries. This suggests we should expect to see the share of job listings with employer-provided salaries continue to rise as old job listings are taken down and new ones in compliance are posted.

        Additionally, it’s worth noting that 44 percent of job listings in the rest of the United States have employer-provided salaries despite no legal obligation to share them. This signals that pay transparency is already growing increasingly common in the status quo. And as pay transparency laws spread, it’s likely that we will see spillover from states with laws impacting the behavior of employers in states without transparency laws. Employers may choose to simplify their compliance process by sharing salaries to all American job seekers rather than maintaining separate policies by state.

        Ranges Have Widened, But Extreme Ranges Remain Rare

        While pay ranges are being increasingly shared, a fair question is whether these pay ranges are useful. Employers are required to provide good faith pay ranges, but concerns have been raised about whether employers are skirting the law by providing unreasonably large pay ranges.

        Firstly, while there have been prominent examples of extremely wide pay ranges, our data indicates that ranges have only widened marginally since these laws went into effect.

        In California, on average, provided salary ranges were about ±9 percent around their midpoint in October 2022. As the law went into effect, the average range widened modestly to ±11 percent in January 2023. In Washington, we see a similar trend, though even more muted, where pay ranges have only widened from ±11 percent to ±12 percent after the laws went into effect.

        Secondly, the perception that ranges have widened significantly may come from a focus on a handful of egregious instances. We see that the vast majority of ranges are narrower than ±20 percent, even for higher-salary jobs. For example, as shown in Table 1 below, in California, 84 percent of salary ranges are less than ±20 percent. That is a decline from 89 percent in October, but the increase is coming mostly from ranges that are between ±20-29 percent or ±30-49 percent wide, rather than excessively large ranges ±50 percent wide.

        Table 1: Share of Job Listings by Width of Salary Range in California

        Salary Range WidthOctober 2022January 2023 (MTD)
        Note: January 2023 data is month-to-date (MTD), current through January 8, 2023.
        Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (

        Similarly, in Washington, the share of jobs with salary ranges narrower than ±20 percent fell from 90 percent to 84 percent from October to January.

        Table 2: Share of Job Listings by Width of Salary Range in Washington State

        Salary Range WidthOctober 2022January 2023 (MTD)
        Note: January 2023 data is month-to-date (MTD), current through January 8, 2023.
        Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (

        In dollar terms, only 0.4 percent of job listings in California have a range wider than $100,000 and 0.3 percent in New York City and Washington, a ratio that is unchanged from October through January.

        Lastly, it’s important to note that higher-paying jobs tend to have significantly wider pay ranges. For example, a salary range that is $30,000/year wide may be excessively wide for a fast food cashier making $15/hour, but that would be considered narrow for an engineering director making $200,000/year. Ranges in higher-paying roles are often wider to account for the varying levels of experience and skills within the same title.

        Below, we compare how ranges vary across different salary levels. To do so, we group together job listings by salary level using the midpoint of the employer-provided salary range. For example, a job that has a posted salary range of $67,500 to $82,500 has a midpoint of $75,000 and a range of ±10 percent. We group together jobs by their salary midpoint into bins of $10,000 and calculate the average range within each group; for example, for all jobs with a salary midpoint between $70,000 and $79,999, the average range in our data is ±12 percent.

        Using this approach, we see that the average width of salary ranges widens for higher-salary jobs. For example, the average range for a job that pays between $30,000 and $39,999 is ±4 percent while the average width for a job that pays over $300,000 is ±19 percent. Additionally, these ranges have widened as the new laws have gone into effect, though only modestly.

        And similarly, we can see this pattern in the distribution of the widths of salary ranges across salary levels. For example, 99 percent of job listings that pay $30,000–$39,999 have a salary range less than ±20 percent. By contrast, wider salary ranges are much more common for jobs that pay $100,000–$109,999, but still 71 percent of those jobs have a salary range less than ±20 percent. 

        Higher-Paying Industries Less Likely to Disclose

        In California, the industries with the highest share of job listings with employer-provided salaries are Human Resources & Staffing, Non-Profit & NGO and Government & Public Administration. Staffing agencies tend to be more upfront about the pay they or their clients offer for contractors or temps. Government agencies and nonprofits are often subject to stricter rules requiring transparency, even before the recent laws.

        Conversely, several high-paying industries like Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology, Financial Services and Information Technology still have many job listings without posted salary ranges. Employers may be hesitant to share pay ranges because of fear of upsetting job seekers and employees, especially given that the industries tend to have wide ranges. 

        Table 3: Sectors with the Highest Share of Job Listings with Employer-Provided Salaries in California

        SectorOctober 2022January 2023 (MTD)
        Human Resources & Staffing72%73%
        Nonprofit & NGO54%70%
        Government & Public Administration59%68%
        Transportation & Logistics52%63%
        Real Estate37%58%
        Personal Consumer Services37%53%
        Management & Consulting40%51%
        Restaurants & Food Service34%51%
        Arts, Entertainment & Recreation36%50%
        Retail & Wholesale21%50%
        Media & Communication21%49%
        Hotels & Travel Accommodation24%47%
        Aerospace & Defense23%46%
        Energy, Mining & Utilities38%46%
        Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services24%45%
        Information Technology18%37%
        Financial Services13%37%
        Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology5%28%
        Note: January 2023 data is month-to-date (MTD), current through January 8, 2023.
        Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (

        The pattern is similar in Washington with government agencies, nonprofits and staffing firms appearing near the top of the list while high-paying industries like tech, finance, biotech and aerospace are near the bottom.

        Table 4: Sectors with the Highest Share of Job Listings with Employer-Provided Salaries in Washington State

        SectorOctober 2022January 2023 (MTD)
        Government & Public Administration72%78%
        Nonprofit & NGO61%77%
        Human Resources & Staffing69%69%
        Transportation & Logistics59%65%
        Real Estate51%64%
        Hotels & Travel Accommodation44%61%
        Arts, Entertainment & Recreation51%61%
        Media & Communication33%61%
        Energy, Mining & Utilities32%61%
        Personal Consumer Services42%57%
        Management & Consulting44%56%
        Restaurants & Food Service46%56%
        Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services35%52%
        Retail & Wholesale27%52%
        Information Technology16%43%
        Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology10%39%
        Aerospace & Defense20%35%
        Financial Services14%35%
        Note: January 2023 data is month-to-date (MTD), current through January 8, 2023.
        Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (

        For updated statistics on employer-provided salaries by sector in New York City, see our appendix below.


        As 2023 begins, pay transparency is gaining momentum. With 1 in 6 Americans now working in a jurisdiction covered by salary transparency laws, pay transparency is increasingly becoming the norm, and the pressure on employers will rise even in states not directly covered by these laws. Our data highlights that the pay transparency wave is not even cresting yet but employers are already feeling the surging tide.

        And indeed, pay transparency has been a broader movement beyond just these new laws with resources like Glassdoor or internal pay spreadsheets offering job seekers and employees more transparency into pay than ever. This is a silver lining for employers: increasing pay transparency in recent years highlights that the genie is already out of the bottle without significant negative consequences for employers.

        Our Data and Methodology

        This analysis is based on data from Glassdoor’s job search platform from October 1, 2022 through January 8, 2023. Daily active job listings are counted if they have at least one job seeker impression, meaning they were seen by at least one job seeker on that day. Employer-provided salaries are either provided directly by the employer or are parsed from the job description. 

        Our dataset includes hundreds of thousands of daily active job listings in the four affected areas, Colorado, New York City, California and Washington state and several 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:

          Industries are assigned to employers based on canonical Glassdoor industries.


          Table: Sectors with the Highest Share of Job Listings with Employer-Provided Salaries in New York City

          SectorOctober 2022January 2023 (MTD)
          Nonprofit & NGO49%76%
          Human Resources & Staffing63%71%
          Arts, Entertainment & Recreation31%68%
          Hotels & Travel Accommodation22%66%
          Media & Communication17%64%
          Personal Consumer Services31%63%
          Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services23%62%
          Management & Consulting36%62%
          Transportation & Logistics49%61%
          Restaurants & Food Service40%60%
          Real Estate24%60%
          Government & Public Administration61%60%
          Retail & Wholesale25%58%
          Information Technology18%50%
          Energy, Mining & Utilities54%44%
          Financial Services6%41%
          Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology18%40%
          Aerospace & Defense22%29%
          Note: January 2023 data is month-to-date (MTD), current through January 8, 2023.
          Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (

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