When the pay transparency mandate in New York City took effect on Nov. 1, employers seemed to test the limits of the law.
One job listing from Citigroup initially listed a salary range of $0 to $2 million before it was corrected. Other companies joined in with extremely wide ranges causing many to question companies’ compliance with the law's “in good faith” requirement.
Organizations are split on how to approach pay transparency. A September WTW survey showed half of companies in North America wanted to hold off disclosing pay and salary ranges out of concern of reaction from existing employees. But many experts say increasing transparency can also improve levels of retention and perceived fairness among workers.
The technology field, already struggling to retain and attract talent, increased salaries and added workplace benefits when the Great Resignation was at its height. Now, at least for companies in locations where pay ranges are required, it's clear just how high those salaries can go.
There is a caveat, however. Candidates for roles won't always end up on the high end of the pay range.
"It's important that candidates [are] educated that just because a role can pay $150,000 doesn't mean they're going to pay you $150,000 if your years of experience don't equate to $150,000," Drew Sussberg, VP of operations at Motion Recruitment, said.
To illustrate the broad salary ranges on job posts and show how they compare to existing salary data, CIO Dive analyzed job postings for full stack software engineers in New York from three different financial services firms: Capital One, American Express and JPMorgan Chase.
The full stack developer roles across the three financial services companies track closely to what Motion Recruitment firms says are the norm for roles in New York.
Full stack developer salary ranges
The largest of the ranges, the position at American Express, has an $80,000 difference between the lowest and highest ends of its range.
The Capital One role is just 5% above and 14% below the minimum and maximum of Motion Recruitment averages for the role, respectively. JPMorgan Chase’s job listing closely mimics the averages, too, at 1% above and 2% above the minimum and maximum averages for the role, respectively.
American Express is the firm farthest from the expected ranges, but some of the breadth can be attributed to a position’s level. Senior-level tech positions normally have a higher average salary than mid- or junior-levels; however, the need to fill the position could be pushing companies to hire less experienced talent.
“In my 19 years of doing this here, there are plenty of positions where they’re looking for a senior, and they end up hiring a junior because the right person has the right attitude,” Sussberg said. “So I can understand that methodology from the client perspective where they’re just open.”
As visibility increases, companies should expect more direct conversations from employees about their compensation and keep communication channels open.
“[Transparency] needs to come with education to make sure that all parties understand what transparency means which comes down to just because a range can pay that doesn’t mean that that person is going to get that,” Sussberg said.