How to make the most of pay transparency while job hunting

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Workers are pushing for more pay transparency, whether employers like it or not.

Such conversations about income expectations used to be “the elephant in the room,” said Vicki Salemi, careers expert at

Now, 33% of job seekers said they wouldn’t even go to an interview without first knowing the salary the employer is willing to offer, according to a new study by job search site Adzuna. The survey, conducted in September, surveyed 2,000 US adults who had searched for a job at least once in the past five years.

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As salary transparency laws slowly gain traction, 28% of adults said a lack of salary clarity remains the top frustration when looking for a job, Adzuna found.

A separate survey by employer review site Glassdoor found that 63% of employees would rather work at a company that discloses salary information than at a company that doesn’t.

The idea is that wage transparency will lead to equal pay, or essentially equal pay, for work of equal or comparable value, regardless of worker gender, race, or any other demographic category.

Ask, “Do you have a budget for this role?”

“The reality is that the job market is still strong,” said Mandi Woodruff-Santos, career coach and co-host of the Brown Ambition podcast, and that gives job seekers more leverage when it comes to benefits and pay.

Woodruff-Santos advises clients to inquire about the salary of a position during the initial screening phone interview.

“I would ask her directly: Do you have a budget for this role?” She said. “Then decide whether you want to continue.

“I’m all for getting it out of the way.”

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“Recognize your worth” based on skills and experience

Salaries are in the spotlight as inflation weighs on the financial position of most workers.

Although wage growth has been high by historical standards, it has not kept pace with the rising cost of living, which is still rising at the fastest annual pace in about four decades, and this is causing more and more workers to be unhappy with their wages.

When it comes to determining what you should be making, “don’t rely solely on the job description,” Monster’s Salemi advised. “Know your worth based on your experience and skills and the norm for the industry you serve.”

But the pay isn’t everything, she added. Other factors to consider include improved advancement opportunities, flexibility and a healthy work-life balance, Salemi said.

Overall, younger workers are paving the way for more pay transparency, according to another report.

About 42% of Gen Z and 40% of Millennials have shared their salary information with a colleague or other professional contact, according to the survey, compared to just 31% of Gen X and 19% of Baby Boomers.

“It’s our generation that’s unlearning that traditional way of thinking,” Woodruff-Santos said. Otherwise, “they could sell short.”

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