5 Quick Dos and Don’ts of Salary Transparency

Over the last several decades, people have contacted staff of the American Library Association (ALA) asking that they demand and require libraries to post salary ranges in job ads. Of course, ALA staff does not possess the kind of power that would allow them to force all libraries to list salary ranges. However, the desire to see salary information in job ads has not gone away. It’s clear that job candidates and current employees want pay transparency. According to a poll conducted by Monster, workers overwhelmingly support salary transparency — in fact, 98% said employers should disclose salary ranges in job postings. Monster’s poll also indicated that more than half, or 53%, would refuse to even apply for a job that does not disclose the salary range, even in states where salary transparency isn’t a law. 

Pay transparency could save an enormous amount of time for both job candidates and recruiters. Why waste time having people apply for positions that do not meet their financial criteria? Why waste recruiters’ time by having people go through a complete hiring process only to turn down a position based on the salary? Although pay is not the only consideration for job seekers, it is a top priority for many. Monster found that six in ten workers (61%) say salary is their top consideration when looking for a new job. The reason for this is obvious. Pay is a key determinant of quality of life. Can you pay your mortgage/rent, buy enough food, pay for childcare, save for your children’s education or for your retirement? These factors all depend on your current and future salaries. 

Still, many employers are reluctant to adopt the practice of posting salaries in job ads. Perhaps they have neglected to consider the benefits of doing so. Pay transparency is one of the best ways to ensure pay equity. It can reduce the gender pay gap. It can also help drive retention, increase employee satisfaction and productivity, and go a long way towards boosting and sustaining diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. 

Our article in the March (2023) issue of Library Worklife indicated that some states are pushing for pay reporting where employers would be required to submit pay data to state agencies. These states, along with the federal government, are seeking to ensure pay equity for all employees. It would be another way to ensure transparency. As the trend continues and more states enact laws, companies will have to comply with pay transparency requirements or face penalties. It’s time employers operate in good faith, be clear and honest about salaries. This brief article suggests five tips to help employers move towards developing pay transparency practices.