Disclosing Salary Ranges in Job Postings

Written by Heather Bussing

August 4, 2022

Disclosing Salary Ranges in Job Postings

Pay transparency feels awkward for a lot of us. Some of us are uncomfortable talking about money and pay. Some of us think that keeping pay a secret can be a competitive advantage and an important part of managing labor costs.

Neither of these things is true. Money is at the heart of the employment relationship. It's what people get in exchange for their work.

The roots of discomfort in talking about money are based in gender discrimination and the history of men controlling property, money, and women. Normalizing pay transparency and discussions about compensation are essential to pay equity and compliance with equal pay and civil rights laws.

As for secrecy, public employees have had their compensation disclosed under open records acts since the 1960s. For everyone else, pay information became easy to find with the internet. If you want to know what people typically make in various jobs, industries, and locations, click here. While some sources are more reliable than others, pay has not been secret for a very long time.

Today, about a dozen states have passed pay transparency laws that require pay ranges to be disclosed in the hiring process. Some, like Colorado, require the salary range to be included in the job posting.

Why pay transparency is a good thing

Being open about compensation helps everyone. By reviewing and disclosing pay for jobs, employers can see where there may be pay gaps for people doing comparable work and can design a comprehensive pay strategy that helps with consistency and competitiveness across the organization.

For employees, pay transparency helps them understand where they are and where they want to be. Instead of imagining themselves with a title or office, they can see the path and start building the skills and experience they need to get there.

In hiring, pay transparency saves time for everyone. People know the pay before they apply. They can opt-in or out based on whether it works for them, instead of going through the entire hiring process only to realize they can't afford to take the job.

Pay transparency also saves recruiters and hiring managers time because they won't be interviewing people who won't accept an offer. It also saves steps and misunderstandings in negotiating the offer. When you have a reasonable pay range from the start, getting to the right number is much easier and faster.

Disclosing pay from the beginning and making pay transparent to all employees also builds trust and accountability. It's easier to identify issues and address them when the data is available and people are comfortable dealing with it.

Disclosing pay in your job posting: what NOT to do

Some organizations are trying to comply with pay transparency laws by posting meaningless pay ranges. When the stated pay range is $40,000 to $125,000, the information is simply not useful. Technically, the organization can offer $42,000 because it is in the stated range, but the candidate is looking for something over six figures. Everyone's time and energy are wasted.

Overly broad pay ranges also say something about your organization. They say: Yes, we know the rules, but we want to work around them because we don't care very much about why they are there. A milder version is: There's this new rule about pay disclosure, but we don't have the time to come up with meaningful pay ranges. We need someone in this role now.

Either way, giving meaningless pay ranges raises red flags for candidates who want to work for organizations that will treat them fairly and whom they can trust. Misleading people in your job ad can do much more damage than you think.

How to effectively post salary ranges

  1. Look at what people in similar roles are making in your organization
  2. Look at the market and what people in comparable roles make
  3. Develop realistic pay ranges based on actual salaries you would offer for the role
  4. Post the applicable salary range

Yes, it takes some extra thought and work, especially if you don't have complete and accurate pay data. But in the long run, it will save you time and money, build trust, and demonstrate fairness.

Post the pay.

If you would like to learn more about's tools that can help, check out CompAnalyst Market Data.

Link to this article
Download Our Resource
Embracing Fair Pay in the War for Talent

Download our white paper to further understand how organizations across the country are using market data, internal analytics, and strategic communication to establish an equitable pay structure.

about the author
Heather Bussing is a California employment lawyer and analyst in the HRTech industry. She writes regularly at and loves helping organizations prevent problems and build more human friendly workplaces. She also loves photography and posts a landscape every morning on twitter @heatherbussing.

Insights You Need to Get It Right

The latest research, expert advice, and compensation best practices all in one place.
Creating a Compensation Plan
Creating a Compensation Plan Blog
How the compensation and total rewards planning process create a compensation plan.

Read More

Top Compensation Trends in 2023
Top Compensation Trends in 2023 Blog
Stay ahead of the curve with these top compensation trends for 2023.

Read More

DE&I Panel Discussion: Moving the Conversation Forward
DE&I Panel Discussion: Moving the Conversation Forward Webinar
In this panel discussion we will cover what the issue is when improving DE&I.

Read More

Differences Between HR-Reported and Crowd-Sourced Compensation Data
Differences Between HR-Reported and Crowd-Sourced Compensation Data White paper
To make decisions about the value of a job, you need data from a range of sources.

Read More

CompAnalyst Market Data: Smart Matches, Fast Prices, and New Insights
CompAnalyst Market Data: Smart Matches, Fast Prices, and New Insights Product Sheet
The CompAnalyst Market Data platform is easier to use than ever before.

Read More

It's Easy to Get Started

Transform compensation at your organization and get pay right — see how with a personalized demo.