Innovation & Entrepreneurship

A clear-eyed look at salary transparency laws

As some states enact salary transparency laws, a Kenan-Flagler professor and Durham CEO offer insight on if these changes will move the needle in pay gaps.

Office cubicles
(Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise)

To combat historical pay gaps experienced by people of color and women, 17 states have enacted pay transparency laws of varying degrees. In January, New York City joined the fight when the city council enacted the New York City Salary Range Transparency Act, an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law set to go into effect in November.

Under this act, it is an “unlawful discriminatory practice” for an employer to advertise a position without providing a minimum and maximum salary in the position advertisement. The law applies to all employers with at least four employees in the city, including independent contractors.

This trend of pay transparency also appears to be increasingly popular among millennial and Generation Z workers. During a time of fierce labor competition, companies that disclose salary ranges might have a leg up on recruiting younger workers. Many companies, however, remain hesitant to provide such transparency without the policy requirements.

Delve into a Q&A from Kenan-Flagler Business school assistant professor Jesse Davis and Durham CEO Ursula Mead on whether these transparency laws move the needle in changing pay gaps.