Why job ads should include salary indicators

Whether or not to publish salary details on a job advert is a highly divisive subject but many recruiters are now leaning towards pay transparency in job ads and for good reason. 

Salaries on job ads – are you for it or against it? It’s a debate that has endured for years, with those employers who request that salary not be disclosed arguing that it can give competitors insight into their rates of pay and reduce their ability to negotiate.

However, the pendulum is finally shifting towards greater salary transparency. In an age where transparency in business is becoming ever more important, being upfront on the salary range that has been signed off for a role (because there will always be one) is not just the right thing to do, it makes business sense.

Here’s why you should add salary to your job advert:

Increased applications

Recent research has revealed that publishing a salary on a job advert can lead to a significant uplift in the number of applications received.

CharityJob, the UK charity sector’s biggest job board, recently shared that recruiters received twice the amount of applications when they published the salary. JobSite sees a 25-35% drop in candidates when salaries aren’t published with the job ad. This is all fairly unsurprising when research conducted by CV Library is taken into consideration – 81.6% of employees admitted that salary was the most important factor when searching for a new job. LinkedIn research backs this up. In a study of LinkedIn users, the site generated a heat map based on what drew their attention when given an example job advert. What they found was that pay and benefits attracted a majority of the respondents, with that section being by far the most highlighted portion of the ad.

In the early stages of the job search, candidates may only take a few seconds to scan a job advert to decide whether it is worth their time to read the full ad and then apply. Once they are satisfied that the package is within the ballpark of what they’re looking for, they will focus on further details and invest more of their time in it. Salary is a significant motivator in the job search and it, therefore, makes sense that publishing salary details in your job adverts will lead to a higher rate of quality applications.

Time saved

When you publish salary details in your job advert you’ll know that the candidates that apply are both happy with the level of pay offered and are at the right level for the requirements of the job, given salary is a good indicator of seniority. This will save your time and that of the candidates in the long run.

There are plenty of examples of candidates that have gone through the screening process, completed assessments, worked their way through various interviews and only at the final stage have found out that the salary being offered is lower than they could accept. The investment of time and resources on both the recruiter’s and the candidate’s sides will be huge and, ultimately, all for nothing. The impact this will have on the candidate’s perception of both the recruiter and the employer will also be incredibly negative, leading to a loss of talent from your pool and potentially damaging PR if that candidate takes their grievances to social media.

Access to fair wage

There is substantial evidence to suggest that not including a salary indicator on a job advert perpetuates the gender pay gap, as well as the pay gaps that exist amongst other groups such as disabled workers and those in the LGBTQ+ community.

If the salary is negotiable, those who are currently underpaid will undoubtedly stay that way. When a number of states in the US banned the practice of asking for a candidate’s salary history, leading to many more job adverts including a salary range, those states saw pay increases for both black and female candidates who started new jobs compared to states that didn’t have the ban. Many candidates from these groups undervalue their market worth and don’t have the confidence to argue for more money.

Asking a candidate to reveal their salary history leaves them vulnerable to being paid less than they’re worth. It also sends an incredibly damaging message to them, that what really matters isn’t the skills and experience they have but the remuneration they are willing to accept.

Appeal to a huge percentage of the workforce

We no longer live in an era where people don’t talk about money, at least among Millennials and Gen Z. Openness about personal finances is far more commonplace than with older generations and, when you consider Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, it becomes crucial that your recruitment strategies align with their values.

Company values are also incredibly important to today’s jobseekers and they will notice if there is a discrepancy between your job advert and your stated values. Do you include a diversity statement in your advert? Does your website display your commitment to equal opportunities for all? Are openness, inclusion, diversity and transparency part of your values? Prove that through action by including a salary, otherwise, they are just words.

Encourage applications from diverse candidates

Expecting candidates to enter an interview with no idea of the pay parameters and having to negotiate their own wage puts BAME, female and LGBTQ+ candidates at a significant disadvantage.

For this reason, many simply won’t apply for jobs that don’t provide at least an idea of the salary offered. Providing a clear salary range avoids any uncertainty, everyone knows where they stand, and diverse candidates will feel more empowered to apply for the job.

Gain candidate trust

Being open, honest and transparent about salary shows respect for your candidates and builds their trust in you to be transparent throughout the recruitment process. It will help to create a positive candidate experience from the very beginning.

Common arguments for hiding salary:

  • Undecided experience level – There will be times when a client isn’t sure what level of experience they want to hire. In these cases, two job descriptions with two separate salary bands would be the best option.
  • We don’t want current employees to know – The only reason for not wanting employees to know the remuneration you’re offering candidates is that those employees are being underpaid. That is the issue that needs to be addressed.
  • It makes us vulnerable to competitors – As long as you know the salary you’re offering is competitive with the market rate, you have nothing to worry about. Smaller businesses might not be able to compete on salary but offer other benefits that have considerable sway so ensure you include those in a prominent position too. WaveTrackR data has shown that a huge number of job ads include the additional benefits in close proximity to the salary range so make sure yours is made clear too to be competitive. Ultimately, if a competitor doesn’t publish a salary and you do, candidates are more likely to apply for your job. In this way, including a salary can give you a competitive advantage.

Ultimately, you want to attract quality candidates with the right salary expectations or you’ll be wasting your time and theirs – and you may just lose top talent because of it. If your salary really is ‘competitive’, don’t be afraid to display it. Publishing salary details on job adverts increases quality applications, promotes pay equity and boosts your brand as a fair, open and transparent recruiter.

If you’re interested in more information on how to improve your job adverts you might like our articles with Top tips to optimise your job ad copy or Writing good job descriptions to attract more talent.

This article was originally posted on UK Recruiter in July 2021 and edited to include more relevant and up to date information.

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