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Salary Matters: Transparency is Ethical Practice for Employers and Job-Seekers Alike

The Gender Equity in Museums Movement (GEMM) supports the calls from our colleagues in the museum and broader nonprofit sectors to make salary ranges transparent in job listings in an effort to address the inequitable power imbalance between museum employers and employees and interns.

There is a growing recognition that salary transparency is a sensible and ethical practice—beneficial to employers and job-seekers alike. Research reveals that job listings with salary ranges receive more applicants, and there is no relationship between applicant quality and posting a range. Since salaries and salary disclosure are issues that profoundly affect women and people of color, salary transparency helps level the playing field. This is especially important to women since studies reveal that they often fail to negotiate salary following a job offer.

Paul Orselli wrote in his June 2018 post, “Museums and Museum Groups – STOP COVERING YOU'RE A*S!”:

I'll state again that I expect more, and better, from the museum world than such weak responses, especially when requiring salary ranges on job postings is such a tiny, tiny difficult step toward resolving pay and diversity inequities in museums, compared to the REALLY HARD steps the museum profession says it wants to take toward a fairer and more representative museum workplace.

The National Emerging Museum Professionals Network launched a Call to Action with a letter writing campaign asking its members to make the case for salary transparency to their state and regional museum associations. The Network’s website also has a link to a petition.

It’s long been known that the museum field’s hiring practices are archaic, contributing to the lack of gender equity and workforce diversity, and our professional associations have been late to the conversation. GEMM applauds those institutions and museum associations that have chosen to revise their hiring and job posting practices. Among them:

American Association for State and Local History

Association of Children’s Museums

Museum Association of New York

Museum Jobs, a project of Museum Hack

New England Museum Association

New York City Museum Educators Roundtable

Read and download GEMM's full statement on Salary Transparency here: Salary Matters: Transparency is Ethical Practice for Employers and Job-Seekers Alike.


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