Show me the money: Why salary transparency is essential for Black workers 

Standards for salary transparency are beginning to change, which could ultimately make a big difference in closing the wage gap.

From flexible work-from-home policies to unlimited PTO, employers are slowly starting to respond to the demands of their most important assets: their people. However, the people who make up those workforces need to be paid fairly—and salary transparency has traditionally remained an obstacle for many in the workplace and job market. 

One of the most recent corporations to make a sweeping change to their status quo is tech giant Microsoft. In June, Microsoft announced it will be publicly disclosing salary ranges in all of its internal and external job postings across the U.S. No more applying blindly and hoping you don’t miss out on what you could’ve had; the company is now saying it’s going to show its cards upfront. While I commend the company for using more equitable and transparent hiring practices, it’s long overdue. 

It’s also especially crucial for Black workers and those of several other marginalized demographics. According to the Economic Policy Institute, on average, Black workers are paid 73 cents on the white dollar. Black women make even less—64 cents for every white male dollar. Even with advanced degrees, Black people still see a significant wage gap compared to their white counterparts. Maybe, just maybe, salary transparency on the front end of the hiring process will help close this gap. In the meantime, most of us aren’t applying for jobs at Microsoft and are therefore left with antiquated and sometimes unfair hiring processes. 

Here are a couple of tips on how we can feel empowered at the start of an interview process when it comes to our prospective pay. 

  • Do your research on salary ranges using online databases like The Salary Project or LinkedIn Salary. With all the updated salary information available these days, there’s no reason candidates can find reliable salary data online. 
  • Know your worth and your number. After you do your research, know the minimal amount you’re willing to accept to be happy doing the work. And know your dream number. Just like companies have their range, you should too. 

There’s more than just money to negotiate. For more, head to the top of this article to watch this week’s episode of The Reset with Coach Tish.

Letisha Bereola

Letisha Bereola is a life coach who helps ambitious women overcome burnout and reach their career goals so they feel great at work and happy at home. She’s a former Emmy-nominated TV news anchor, Podcast host of AUDACITY and speaker. Learn more:

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