Gaming Game companies post absurdly broad salary ranges to 'comply' with new pay transparency laws; Min Max differences around $100,000

tom_mai78101

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Inside a game industry job applicant today there are two wolves: One is tearing shit up in reckless glee because they just got a job offer from Netflix as a videogame graphics programmer earning $600,000 a year. The other is howling in despair for getting the same job offer, but at a salary of only $50,000, which is barely enough to live in your car in Los Angeles. "We rely on market indicators to determine compensation and consider your specific job family, background, skills, and experience to get it right," says Netflix.

I call bullshit.

In an economic study of the entire games industry, from fresh college grads to superstar veterans, that half a million dollar salary range may be accurate. But in the case of this specific job posting (opens in new tab), the comically broad $50,000-$600,000 range is Netflix's way of weaseling out of a new California transparency law requiring employers to list salary bands for new hires. While Netflix may technically be complying with the letter of the new law, which went into effect at the start of 2023, it's certainly not following the spirit. And Netflix isn't the only game company posting comically broad salary ranges as a bare minimum act of compliance.

New laws in California, New York City, and Washington state require employers to include expected salaries in job postings, though the wording for each law differs and all three are unfortunately vague. California's requires listing "the salary or hourly wage range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position," while New York requires a "good faith salary range." The company doesn't have to prove its salary range is offered in good faith, of course—if someone objects, it's on them to prove a listing was made in bad faith, instead.

The intention of these sorts of transparency laws is to ensure that employees are paid equally for equal work despite differences in race, gender, or background (pay inequality remains an ongoing issue, especially in tech). Most game companies I looked at in all three states have already posted salary bands, though a few haven't (Sucker Punch (opens in new tab) and Valve (opens in new tab), both based in Bellevue, need to update their listings).

In some cases, a broad salary range can make sense—it telegraphs that a game studio is willing to pay a seasoned programmer more in acknowledgement of their experience level. But in most of the games industry job postings I looked at, "broad" is an understatement. The salary minimums and maximums often differed by around $100,000—enough for one person to be making twice as much as a colleague with the same job title and responsibilities.

 

The Helper

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If those states keep making those types of laws Austin, TX and other places that are, let us say, less restrictive are just going to grab more companies! Austin is only a couple hours from me so I am a fan :)
 

jonas

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10x difference is a but much but a 5x difference for the same job is completely normal in the industry and reflects the massive differential in skills.
 

The Helper

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Apparently Google likes this news because it has like 5 times the views of a normal news post.
 
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