California: A Tesla software engineer could earn anywhere from $83,200 to $417,600. Netflix has one job posting advertising a pay range of $90,000 to $900,000 and another at $50,000 to $600,000.
Under a new California law that took effect this week, all companies with 15 or more employees advertising jobs based in the state are required to post an estimate for what the employer “reasonably expects to pay” with the posting. Much like when New York City’s law went into effect last year, some companies are taking a liberal interpretation of the new regulations with notably wide pay ranges.
The Netflix and Tesla ranges were the widest among about 53,000 job posts from 700 tech companies analyzed by Roger Lee, co-founder of Comprehensive.io, a pay data and analytics site. The average pay range in postings he looked at was $130,000 to $200,000.
In the earliest days of New York City’s law some employers had similarly broad listings, including one with a $2 million range. Many ended up being mistakes or glitches. Tesla and Netflix did not return requests for comment.
“There are companies that are posting salary ranges that are really wide, that many would consider to not be in good faith or the spirit of the law,” Lee said. “But by and large the vast majority of companies are complying with this pay transparency law in good faith.”
Netflix has a similar explanation about market, experience and specific job requirements. “This market range is based on total compensation (vs. only base salary), which is in line with our compensation philosophy,” the listing reads.
The California law is part of a wave of requirements sweeping the US aimed at closing gender and racial wage gaps. In California, employees can also ask their employer for the pay range of their existing role.
As more states pass pay transparency laws, companies like Microsoft Corp. Citigroup Inc. and Google are starting to list salary ranges for all roles, even when they aren’t required to do so by law. And employment experts say workers are increasingly asking for the information.
Many states are also banning companies from asking workers what they were paid at their previous employer and outlawing restrictions on employees telling co-workers what they are paid.