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Sure Seems Like These Job Postings Aren’t Complying With NYC’s New Salary Transparency Law

The price of fixing information asymmetry and wage gaps is eternal vigilance.

A person signs job application papers.

(Scott Graham / Unsplash)

Happy November! If you’re happy with your job, congrats. But if you’re not, Tuesday brought a new wrinkle to the job search process: Thanks to a new law passed by the city council in January and delayed for implementation until November 1 after employers complained, all companies with four or more employees in New York City now must include a salary range with any employment listings. 

The goal, as stated by council members, was not only to level the playing field between employers and job seekers, but also to reduce pay inequities—previous studies have found that when employers are forced to state salary ranges in job ads, the gender pay gap can be reduced by 20 to 40 percent. 

But what if you just like surprises, and want to avoid spoilers about whether your new dream job will pay a living wage? There’s good news for you as well: Plenty of employers seem to have either missed the memo about the new law, or decided that the council was only kidding.

Here are some employers and their active postings that, as of the time of publication, include no concrete numbers about what they’re willing to pay:

    • Columbia University is hiring a production editor for its School of International and Public Affairs, for a salary that’s “commensurate with experience.” That’s for them to know and you to find out!
    • Hearst is hiring an associate e-commerce editor for Esquire, who will help shape coverage of crap you can buy online. Candidates must include salary requirements with their applications, but Hearst isn’t saying what it’s willing to pay, so get your guesstimating cap on!
    • The New York City Department of Education needs a school aide for I.S. 234 in Brooklyn. Salary is "as per collective bargaining agreement," so don’t check your personal copy of the school union contract that you no doubt have handy if you don’t want to find out!
    • Disney is hiring a production associate for “Good Morning America,” a media coordinator for "The View," and an usher at the New Amsterdam Theater, with no indication of what they’re willing to pay.
    • Marriott is hiring a "rooms controller," but perhaps they should hire a "job postings controller," because this listing lacks a compensation number.
    • Spotify needs a "brand & culture storyteller," to help "champion authentic brand love." Interestingly, the job listing notes, "This role is not eligible for hire in Colorado," a common caveat since that state passed its salary transparency law, but nobody at the musician-screwing service seems to have noticed that New York now has the same requirements.
    • The FBI is hiring linguists, and has been since March 19, 2018, so they clearly need lots of them. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and able to obtain a "Top Secret-SCI clearance," plus not mind their prospective salaries being shrouded in mystery like a state secret. 

These and other ads that appear to violate the new law will likely eventually be taken down or amended with salary info. (The City’s Commission on Human Rights has an online form for reporting violations, though the council’s revised version of the law eliminated fines of up to $250,000 for first-time infractions.) 

It’s less clear what will happen to companies that bend the rules around salary transparency by posting salary ranges that span more than $100,000, as Gwynne Hogan reported for Gothamist. In Colorado, which passed a salary transparency law in 2019 and put it into effect in January 2021, the local labor department already had to issue revised directives to keep companies from listing jobs at, for example, "$30,000 and up." The price of fixing information asymmetry, apparently, is eternal vigilance.

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