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In the landscape of post-pandemic employment, the concept of pay transparency has emerged as a trend and has challenged long-held policies of secrecy surrounding salary and wages. There was a time when employee discussions about compensation were discouraged, or even prohibited, and they were certainly considered to be in poor taste. Not anymore! Pay transparency involves openly sharing information about compensation and shedding light on what employees earn and why. While this may be uncomfortable for some, its impacts go beyond numbers on paychecks. Pay transparency can foster fairness, equality, and trust in the organization.

Legal Considerations

There are 13 states that have already enacted pay transparency legislation and another dozen that are considering it.

Already Enacted

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington


  • Alaska
  • District of Columbia
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

The details vary from state to state, but they generally fall into a few categories:

  • Salary Information (common): Employers may be required to disclose salary or wage ranges when advertising jobs. A few include requirements for internal disclosure with existing employees as well.
  • Total Compensation (not so common): Employers may be required to disclose all compensation including pay, sales commission, benefits, and bonuses.
  • Previous Compensation (common): Employers may be prohibited from asking candidates about how much they were paid in the past.

These laws generally mandate that employers disclose salary and wage ranges for positions to applicants but may also include existing employees. In terms of scope, the laws vary with some applying to all employers and others targeting a certain size or type. In any case, the primary objectives of these laws are to reduce gender and racial wage gaps and foster a more equitable and competitive job market.

There are many implications, the most important of which is that employers are required to adjust their hiring practices to ensure that pay ranges are disclosed and that questions about pay history are eliminated from the selection process.

Trust and Engagement

According to recent research by SHRM:

  • 82% of job seekers are more likely to consider applying to a position if the pay range is listed.
  • 74% of job seekers are less interested in applying if the pay range is not listed.
  • 73% of job seekers are more likely to trust an organization that posts pay ranges than those who don’t.

In today’s very competitive job market, pay transparency can be a strategic advantage in attracting and retaining top talent. Prospective employees are increasingly prioritizing transparency and fairness and organizations that embrace this are more likely to attract high-caliber candidates.

For existing employees, transparency breeds trust. When employees have insight into how their compensation is determined, they know that they are being compensated fairly for their contributions and are more likely to be invested in their work. Transparency helps decrease turnover by playing into a culture of fairness and trust which reduces the likelihood of employees seeking opportunities elsewhere due to perceived inequities.

Accountability and Performance

Pay transparency is a powerful tool in driving accountability and performance. When employees understand the criteria used to determine compensation, they understand what they must do to meet or exceed expectations. Conversely, organizations are held accountable for their compensation practices. This accountability can incentivize employers to adopt more equitable and merit-based approaches to compensation.

Challenges and Considerations

There is no doubt that pay transparency has significant benefits, but there are some challenges. For example, some organizations may experience resistance from employees who are uncomfortable with their salaries being made public. There’s also a risk of unintended consequences such as increased competition or tension among coworkers. However, with thoughtful planning and communication, these challenges can be addressed and mitigated.


We live in a time when transparency and full disclosure are in demand. By disclosing compensation practices, organizations can promote fairness, equality, and trust among employees while also driving accountability and performance. Implementing pay transparency practices does come with some challenges, but the potential rewards for both employers and employees make it a worthwhile effort in moving toward a more equitable and inclusive workplace.

What could pay transparency mean for your business?

Get in touch for more information, and we’ll walk you through what it could mean for you.

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