At the start of the pandemic, software engineer and aspiring CIO Kerry Fields was laid off. In an already challenging time, she unexpectedly had to begin searching for work during one of the biggest job crises of the past several decades. She poured over job boards, networked virtually, worked with mentors, and took every opportunity to continue building her portfolio and professional skills. She also applied for upwards of 100 jobs.
She estimates that fewer than 25% of the jobs she applied for showed the salary in the job listing—an issue that both made her job search inequitable and negatively impacted prospective employers. Kerry is also a Black woman, so she already faces significant intersectional salary inequities. According to recent reports, Black women earn 38% less than white men and 21% less than white women for the same job.
Without salary information being disclosed in the job listing, Kerry had no way to know if the salary available would support her, resulting in a lot of wasted time on both Kerry’s part and the employer’s. Even at the interview phase, potential employers often didn’t disclose the salary, prolonging the process.
Sadly, Kerry’s story is not unique.
Closing the gender and race pay gap begins with salary transparency. Salaries are often shrouded in mystery, not just from the outside for job seekers but also inside the company for current employees. The lack of information and transparency around pay exacerbates gender- and race-based disparities. While companies may believe it serves their bottom line to keep this information secret, that assumption is misguided. And not disclosing salary details certainly does not advance goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion.