Salary transparency has more than doubled in the past three years, March 14 data from Indeed suggests. Back in February 2020, about 18% of job listings had employer-provided salary information; by February 2023, that number had risen to 44%.
Pay transparency laws aren’t the only factor, Indeed researchers said, noting that they “observed an increase even in areas without these pay disclosure requirements.” Notably, salary disclosure growth was highest in STEM-focused fields, including the banking, finance, mathematics and software development sectors.
Mandates mostly determine geographic trends
Whereas transparency was lowest in the unregulated South — with incremental growth in metropolitan areas of Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana — the greater San Jose, California; San Francisco Bay; and Seattle areas had the most rapid year-over-year increases following mandates. Between February 2022 and 2023, Seattle’s pay transparency in job listings jumped about 166%; San Francisco Bay’s salary advertising jumped 185% and the San Jose metropolitan area saw a whopping 268% increase in transparency.
The effect of New York City’s pay transparency law is visible in the research: Between February of this year and last year, pay disclosure in job listings jumped about 138%.
Utah dominated Indeed’s cohort of high-transparency job areas without mandates on the books: at least half of postings in the Provo-Orem area, in Salt Lake City and in the Ogden-Clearfield area provided salary information.
Researchers posited that even just introducing legislation could drive momentum. Scientists pointed to Hawaii’s HB745 bill introduced in January 2023 — and to a 77% increase over the past year in Honolulu job listings that include salary information.
STEM has ever-evolving norms
Although salary disclosure growth has been highest in STEM industries, Indeed researchers said, science jobs lag overall when it comes to transparency. “Roles in industrial engineering, chemical engineering, and banking and finance have the lowest salary visibility in job postings, advertising pay in fewer than a third of posted jobs,” researchers said.
For context: about one-third of jobs in scientific research and development, banking and finance disclose pay, compared to nearly 76% of roles in childcare positions, 68% of security and public safety jobs, and 63% of open roles in dentistry.
The business case for transparency
Beyond compliance, why post salary information on job listings? Indeed’s researchers concluded that tight labor market conditions are a factor in higher rates of salary transparency, with employers looking for “ways to attract workers in the hot labor market.”
Indeed’s main evidence: Previously, middle-wage job postings led the pack in providing pay information. Since 2019, the trend is touching higher-wage job listings, with salary advertising for those roles jumping about 70% in the last year alone.
Indeed’s findings contribute to an understanding of an ongoing labor industry trend: the Society for Human Resource Management reported this month that 67% of its survey-takers said their organization voluntarily includes starting pay in open role listings “sometimes, often, or always.”
In addition, 70% of respondents told SHRM that listing pay ranges for jobs “has led to more people applying to their postings.” Conversely, SHRM’s data suggests that 82% of U.S. workers “are more likely” to consider an open role if the pay range is available, and 74% of U.S. workers “are less interested” in applying to jobs with undisclosed pay bands.