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March 30, 2023

Maya Varma

Employers embrace pay transparency on Handshake

Gen Z’s push for pay transparency and new legislation drive results on Handshake

Stability and salary have quickly become the focal point of career conversations for students gearing up to enter the workforce – a trend that has emerged from Gen Z’s desire for more overall transparency in the workplace.

In January 2023, Handshake updated our product to make it easier for employers to post salary ranges on their job descriptions. These changes not only enable employers on the platform to comply with existing legislation passed in California, Colorado, Washington, and New York, but also, strongly encourages salary transparency across all jobs, regardless of location, to help promote equitable hiring.

Our latest Handshake Network Trends report, Enter your pay transparency era, explored how college-grad job seekers are responding to the current economic climate, including what they’re prioritizing in their job search, and their idea of a high starting salary. Following the pay transparency report’s release, we looked at how employers on Handshake, industries, and states across the country are adopting pay transparency policies to see if they’re keeping pace with Gen Z demand. Below are our findings.

Key Takeaways

  1. More employers on Handshake are disclosing salaries: Across the platform, 73% of full-time job postings created since the beginning of the year, disclosed salary.
  2. Average width of salary ranges on the platform remains low as employers make an effort to set expectations with applicants: The average salary width of jobs posted on Handshake in 2023 was $20,516.
  3. Non-tech industries take the lead in salary disclosures: Industries including Government, Law & Politics, and Retail were at the top of the list for the sectors with the most salary disclosures.

More employers on Handshake are sharing salaries

The economic climate of the past year has motivated upcoming graduates to pay closer attention to compensation as it aligns with cost-of-living. Our recent survey found that 82% of the class of 2023 is prioritizing salary in their job search, an increase from 73% in the summer of 2022.

In parallel to this trend, there’s been an uptick in the number of job postings on the platform with salary information.

Across the platform, 73% of full-time job postings since the beginning of the year disclosed salary. This represents employers both in states where pay transparency is legally required of employers and states who have yet to adopt policies. This is an improvement from last year, where 39% of full-time jobs on Handshake disclosed salary.

As employers continue to adopt salary transparency policies, the width of salary ranges (from the minimum one could earn to the maximum) appears differently across job boards. While there are jobs advertised with exponentially large salary ranges, for example, $70k to $300k, we’re not seeing this trend take off on Handshake, where the average width of salary ranges of jobs posted in 2023 is $20,516.

Non-tech sectors lead the pack with salary transparency

Hiring slowdowns within the tech industry have created new opportunities to connect with tech talent. Industries like government, manufacturing, and automotive, are eager to compete for top talent hitting the marketplace to help drive innovation and ensure workforce continuity.

Many are aligning their recruitment strategies with what today’s early talent is looking for in employers. Beyond searching for companies that align with their personal values, our data shows that 4 out of 5 college-grad job seekers are prioritizing stability, salary, and benefits.

Sectors including Government, Law & Politics, and Retail were at the top of the list for the industries with the most salary disclosures. Industries with the fewest disclosures include Finance, Media and Marketing, and Pharmaceuticals.

What’s next for pay transparency

Employers in states where salary transparency policies have gone into effect – namely, California, Colorado, Washington, and New York – that are posting jobs on Handshake are following the new legislation. This has had a cascading effect on other states, with all 50 states seeing an increase in job postings with salaries on Handshake starting in 2023.

American Express, for example, extends the same level of salary transparency across the US to ensure a consistent experience for job seekers interested in finding their place on their team.

Signify, a global lighting company with a more than 130-year legacy, sees pay transparency as key to attracting the next generation of its workforce. “We believe pay transparency is important to our journey to be an employer of choice to Gen Z,” said Cathy Cubberly, Head of Human Resources, Americas, Signify. “As Handshake's report and others have shown, Gen Z values and increasingly expects to see pay transparency on job postings. In addition, supporting this practice is important as our company continues to take actions to ensure pay equity."

As current students and upcoming graduates gear up to enter the workforce, employers looking to strengthen their early talent recruiting strategies should consider embracing pay transparency policies. These policies not only create more equitable opportunities for early talent, as outlined in our recent pay transparency report, but also can help employers retain a competitive edge when it comes to hiring.


About Handshake salary data: This analysis tracks employer-reported salary from full-time job postings created on the Handshake network starting on January 12, 2023 (when Handshake features promoting salary transparency were added) to March 29, 2023. Hourly and monthly rates were converted to an annual salary.

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