Use This Legal Loophole to Figure Out What a Job Should Pay

Use This Legal Loophole to Figure Out What a Job Should Pay


A Black woman sitting at a white desk studies a computer spreadsheet filled with numbers

Photo: Andrey_Popov (Shutterstock)

To effectively negotiate a salary, you first need to know what’s considered a reasonable wage for a given job. But that information isn’t always available, either for confidentiality reasons or because most companies prefer not to list salaries in their job postings. Fortunately there’s a workaround that could come in handy: state law in Colorado requires salaries to be included in all job listings, which means reliably accurate salary information can be found for your profession. Here’s a look at how you can make that work for you, even if you don’t live in Colorado.

How to find accurate salary information for a job

While you can use salary look-up sites like Indeed, Glassdoor or PayScale to get an idea of what a role is worth, they can be rather broad in terms of the salary range and job description. Plus, as often is the case with job-related sites, you might be forced to sign up for an account before you can see the results.

Instead, the LifeProTips subreddit offers an alternative way to verify salaries for a given role: just check postings for similar jobs in Colorado. Unlike sites that rely on self-reported data, these salary numbers are straight from the employer, so you know they’re current and accurate, too.

As an example, when I check Linkedin or Indeed for “project manager” job postings, I can see some that some include salary, but many do not. But if I search for these same jobs in Colorado, the vast majority list salaries in order to comply with the state’s labor laws. This information can be very useful, even if you don’t live in Colorado.

For example, a Linkedin job posting for a “customer success manager” role at Wix.com in Florida doesn’t include any information about salary. But a posting for the exact same role in Colorado does include a salary range ($55,000–$78,000). Even though a job seeker in Florida wouldn’t necessarily be looking to work in Colorado, they can still use this information to leverage their own salary negotiations for the Florida job.

Remember to factor in cost of living

Since companies will typically offer compensation based on the local cost of living, you’ll have to keep that in mind when comparing salaries between states, especially since the cost of living in Colorado is higher than in much of the country.

As a commenter on the LifeProTips thread suggests, you can plug the Colorado salary into a cost of living calculator to estimate what the same job might pay in the state where you currently reside.

Again, this is meant to provide more of a ballpark number of what you deserve, rather than an exact formula for discovering what a given company is actually willing to pay. As always, the guessing game still favors the employer in salary negotiations, not the applicant. But at least you’ll have more information to help you confidently negotiate your salary without leaving money on the table.



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