California and Washington’s new pay transparency laws are good news for gaming candidates

by Danny Craig  · 
Updated
California and Washington’s new pay transparency laws are good news for gaming candidates

The states of California and Washington ushered in expanded pay transparency laws on January 1st, with the impact on the video game industry set to be significant.

The details:

  • The aim of these laws is to increase pay transparency in order to combat pay discrimination, where women and workers of color are paid less than their white, male counterparts in similar jobs. They follow similar measures introduced in New York and Colorado in Q4 2022.
  • Major companies, such as Google and Microsoft, have announced that they will publish salary information with all US job postings. However, others have tried to avoid the rules by deflating advertised salary ranges to hold down the pay expectations of job candidates or by giving ranges that are too wide to be useful.
  • Pay transparency laws currently vary by location. New York and California only require salary ranges, while Colorado and Washington also ask for information on benefits and other compensation. Other states, like Connecticut, Nevada, and Rhode Island, also require employers to disclose salary information to job candidates later on in the application and interview process.
  • There's also a difference in how jurisdictions define what employers should include in salary ranges. Colorado and New York appear to want “good faith estimates” of what the employer plans to pay for a specific job initially. In Washington, however, the state's enforcement agency seemingly wants to see a full salary range for the entire lifespan of a job, not just at the time of hiring.

How will this impact the video game industry?

  • A lack of salary transparency on job descriptions has plagued the video game industry since Hitmarker launched in May 2017, with fewer than 3% of all gaming job vacancies showing a set salary or even a salary range over the past five and a half years.
  • Over 75% of all US-based gaming jobs posted since 2017 were in California or Washington state, and nine of the top 10 hiring companies from 2022 have offices in either or both CA and WA. This means that we will now see salary information on the majority of jobs from Unity, EA, Ubisoft, Riot, PlayStation, Twitch, Epic, Roblox, Blizzard, and more.
  • This is set to increase the percentage of video game industry vacancies showing salary information from below 3% to well over 50%, which is a seismic shift. Not many industries will be as impacted by the new pay transparency laws as gaming, and there’s sure to be a ripple effect outside of just California and Washington over time, too, as salary data becomes more commonplace.
  • Already, we’ve seen a game engineering job from Netflix offering up to $1.8M per annum(!), EA posting a range of $157-246k per year for a senior communications opportunity working on Apex Legends, and Riot offering up to $260k a year for a “music & events” operations role. Even in these very early days, 24% of all new gaming jobs posted have had salary information attached. That’s surely only a good thing.