The "Secret" to Improving Talent Acquisition with Pay Transparency

May 10, 2023
Min Read
The "Secret" to Improving Talent Acquisition with Pay Transparency

Key topics

For those who couldn’t attend Compa’s recent webinar with Jonathan Lydon, Head of Recruiting for Nuro, here are some highlights and a link to the full recording


The discussion focused on ways to improve talent acquisition with pay transparency, especially in view of the labyrinth of state laws which recently went into effect. Joining Jonathan was Charlie Franklin, Compa’s CEO, who discussed ways for recruiters to make pay fair and competitive in this era of pay transparency, but also how they can leverage transparency to recruit more effectively and create better candidate experiences.

The current view on pay transparency

According to Jonathan, about 75% of companies are participating in pay transparency, which will likely increase as new laws go into effect. He also has not seen as yet a standard emerge in terms of how to implement transparency. In his view, it’s a mixed bag that will take some time to sort out. 

Compa’s pay transparency map

To help companies navigate state pay transparency laws, Charlie unveiled an interactive pay transparency map for recruiters, compensation professionals, and job seekers to understand what companies must do, can do, and cannot do in different states with respect to disclosing salary data. In addition to current state and local laws, the map also includes information on pending state legislation and identifies states without pay transparency laws. To view the pay transparency map, visit

Compliance first; Enhancing conversations second

The speakers addressed the two sides to pay transparency: compliance with state laws and enhancing candidate conversations. 

  • Compliance - there’s no magic bullet for how to comply with laws, and different companies are taking different approaches to compliance. There’s a wide spectrum of implementations, all of which reflect a particular company’s compensation philosophy.
  • Conversations - Recruiters are now becoming brand ambassadors for their company’s compensation philosophy and elevating the bar with more robust, open conversations with candidates earlier in the recruiting process than before. Today’s recruiters are less about the old cat and mouse game of figuring out expectations than it is about laying out honestly how a company determines pay bands and how that fits in context with other benefits. 

Thinking about and talking about levels with candidates

Candidates want to hear how a company defines different levels within particular job categories so they can understand how they can move up over time. Recruiters need to take an active role in explaining the philosophy and the key factors that buttress that philosophy. 

Dealing with dynamic compensation data

Companies are just learning how to get comfortable with new, dynamic compensation data as opposed to lagging salary surveys. There’s a lot of benchmarking going on right now between and among companies, so there’s a lot still to be learned in terms of tracking candidate interest, competitive offers, and close rates. 

Building trust through transparency inside and outside

Pay transparency is an inside-out game, meaning there’s risk if a company is more transparent with candidates than it is with internal employees. If a company isn’t transparent with all, there’s a real risk that trust will be lost. 

Compensation challenges for start-ups in particular

Most candidates who apply to start-ups do so with the understanding that they will likely not be paid as highly as a peer at a larger company because they’re in it for the upside. In start-ups, equity is the name of the game. And different start-ups will have different pay bands based on what type of talent they need immediately. In short, recruiters in start-ups will no doubt face and have to deal with a number of nuances to get their jobs done effectively.  

How recruiters can be more effective and engender trust

Pay transparency will enable recruiters to qualify or disqualify candidates faster and be more effective at their jobs. Likewise, transparency will also play a key role in establishing and engendering trust with candidates by virtue of their conversations and candor. 

How geography impacts compensation post Covid

In the post-Covid era, companies will have to standardize on how they deal with geo-based compensation conversations, especially as the return to office trend picks up steam in the coming months. 

How transparency will be perceived over time

Companies are likely to err on the side of more transparency once they work through the internal challenges for simplicity sake. 

On training recruiters

Companies need to change their expectations for recruiters, especially with respect to communication and negotiation skills. Training them to handle transparent conversations is a must. 

Click here to listen to the full webinar.

Back to Blog

Discover the future of compensation