DDo you want to know how much money your future co-workers will earn? Take a look at the new job offers at New York city. A Deloitte ad promises compensation of between $86,800 and $161,200 a year. A technical writer on Amazon can expect to earn between $125,800 and $211,300. And a news audio chief at the Wall Street Journal will earn between $140,000 and $450,000. That’s a difference of $305,000.
These astronomical figures became joke material on social media after the reporter Victoria M Walker put together the most ridiculous ranks in a Twitter thread. “With the New York City wage law now in place, I have been looking at the salary ranges of some companies and I can already see that the ‘good faith’ part of the law will be tested,” he wrote, triggering a series of responses that name and shame such listings.
“Looks like I’m going to ask for the highest number they’re going to give,” one person tweeted.
“The bottom end is the real number, the rest is hoping someone doesn’t notice and apply,” another wrote.
New Yorkers have this opportunity to spy on potential salaries because the city’s Pay Transparency Act went into effect on November 1. But anyone looking to compare their paycheck to that of a future colleague may be disappointed by the comically large ranges. On the hunt for a gig at Citigroup? Expect to earn between $0 and $2 million.
as a gothamist first reported, a Citigroup spokesman blamed their ranges on a “computer glitch.” Although the original pay gap was edited, the salary is still listed between $59,340.00 and $149,320.00. Those reserved wages would allow for two very different standards of living in New York City.
In a statement, a Citi representative said: “We are proactively mitigating this issue by reviewing all job postings to ensure the correct range is included.”
August Aldebot-Green, an Amazon spokesman, said: “Of course, we will comply with the law. Amazon is committed to equal pay and we already list pay for some roles, even when it’s not required.”
Advertisers for the Wall Street Journal and Deloitte did not respond to a query.
The law, which applies to both annual and hourly wages, affects all permanent job listings performed in person in New York. Remote concerts are exempt. It comes on the heels of a similar law enacted in Colorado last year, which researchers found led to a decrease in the number of jobs posted, but an increase in employment overall, CNBC reported. That law also fell victim to some corporate shadowing: Certain companies began hiring work-from-home employees out of state or left Colorado altogether in an attempt to circumvent the measure.
In New York, so far the only requirement when it comes to salary bands is that “the employer believes in good faith at the time of posting that it would pay for the advertised job, promotion, or transfer opportunity.” So here lies the loophole: “good faith” doesn’t carry much weight when companies post listings where the highest rate is nearly double the lowest.
According to Gothamist, it’s “unclear” if the city’s human rights commission will go after these businesses with fines for violating the law.
New York City Councilor Nantasha Williams, who also chairs the civil and human rights committee, told The Guardian she “couldn’t believe” some of the ranks she saw floating around on Twitter. “[I thought] ‘Is this really a post?’” he said. “I go to the company website.”
Williams added that the intent of the law was to “reduce” wage inequality in the city, which disproportionately affects women and people of color. “While it’s amusing to see companies skirting the law, it’s also quite eloquent and revealing in terms of total disregard for what it means to have equity in pay,” she said.
While Williams admitted it was “hard to say” what falls into the category of reasonable pay and “good faith,” what he had seen was “pretty appalling.” She has not gone to the human rights commission to address the issue, but she plans to.
Jeanne M Christensen, a partner at the New York employment law firm Wigdor LLP, believes “it won’t take long to clarify what counts as a rank that complies with the new law.”
“Of course, companies have enjoyed decades of not having to provide us with this information publicly,” he said. “They are used to doing things a certain way, and this is a big change. They want to stay as close as possible to the old way of doing things.”
Christensen added that it could be difficult to litigate cases alleging pay inequities among employees, because it could be difficult to acquire evidence of what competitors actually earned. “If she is representing a white female who she alleges is paid less than her white male counterpart and she has no way of getting [salary] information, it’s hard to know what’s really going on,” he said. “Transparency is certainly a step in the right direction for groups that are traditionally ostracized.”
Rana Boukhari, 26, works in consulting and change management and is currently looking for a job. There have been times when she has gone through an entire interview process without hearing anything about salary and received offers that were too low. “It’s been a huge waste of time,” she said. “If I saw ranks in the ads that were below what I wanted, I wouldn’t have applied.”
When Boukhari applied for a job last week, he said he saw listings offering salary ranges between $90,000 and $120,000. “It’s a very large range,” he said. “[It makes you wonder]:’Where do I lie down in that range?’
Robin Blaire-Batte, a union organizer for New York Communications Workers Local 1180, said she believed a salary range of $30,000 or $40,000 was acceptable for future listings. “[Applicants] they have different levels of experience,” he said. But those $100,000 gaps you see in this week’s listings will likely go unpunished.
“We don’t expect any of the companies to be fined, for now,” he said. “The New York City human rights commission will probably let it go because it’s the start of this initiative. But later on, if he goes crazy, they will.”
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