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New bill proposed in legislature requires job applications to post salary

Job listings could soon be required to include the starting salary as a way to close the gender wage gap.
Image by David Stager
Minnesota job applications will now come with the job’s starting salary as a new bill would require all businesses with 30 or more employees to include salary in job applications.

A new bill introduced in the Minnesota Legislature would require companies with at least 30 employees to post the salary on job listings, in hopes of alleviating the gender wage gap. 

In Minnesota, for every dollar white men make, white women make 81 cents, Asian women make 72 cents, Black women make 62 cents, Native American women make 64 cents and Latina women make 57 cents in 2024, according to the Status of Women & Girls Report.

The bill will help address gender pay discrepancies through salary transparency and showing potential employees the amount a job will pay, regardless of gender or race. 

University of Minnesota entrepreneurship professor Moshe Barach said mandating job salaries in applications helps prospective employees. A good reason for the inclusion of the salary, besides working on closing the wage gap, is job matching. 

“That saves a company time and effort because the potential employer is not going to go through the entire search and screen process and then make a job offer only to have an employee say, ‘Oh, yeah that pays way too little, I’m not going to take the job,’” Barach said. 

Bill author Sen. Alice Mann (DFL-Edina) said an exemption for businesses with less than 30 workers is to alleviate the burden on small businesses. 

“When you have a very small business, you do pay less just because you make less, and so we didn’t want to give those businesses an unfair disadvantage,” Mann said. 

Barach said industry norms and benchmarking motivate employers to avoid posting job salaries in applications. Benchmarking is where companies hide a job’s salary so other companies do not attempt to take potential job candidates. 

“I don’t think any company out there does this to be devious or to try to harm women or minorities, but there are sort of good strategic reasons why companies don’t want this information public,” Barach said. 

University economics professor Alan Benson said hiding the salary gives employers more flexibility in the hiring process. 

“That flexibility is to essentially have employers be able to get away with paying their incumbent workers less than their recruits,” Benson said. 

In another attempt to tackle the gender wage gap, legislators passed the Preventing Pay Discrimination Act in May 2023, which prohibited employers from asking job applicants about past or current pay during the hiring process. 

“Prohibiting asking someone what they made at their last job, which was something we passed last year, and salary wage transparency is another one of those tools that has been recommended to decrease the wage gap,” Mann said.

Mann said legislation like this is necessary because women are paid less for doing the same work as men. 

“Women are earning less than their counterparts and women of color specifically are earning even less than that for doing the exact same work,” Mann said. 

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  • J. Lee
    Apr 3, 2024 at 10:48 am

    Thank you so much for covering this story. I haven’t seen it anywhere else. Good scoop!