Many job seekers have been there: jump on Seek, apply filters, select one of the latest job ads, read the job description and continue scrolling to the bottom to find the job salary…But what if it’s not there?
Some would be extremely frustrated and not even bother to apply, while others would continue and send in their resume, acknowledging that the salary will be discussed at some stage.
There’s a growing global conversation on salary transparency, where opinions differ as to when a salary is discussed. In this article, we cover both sides of the argument and leave you to form your own opinion.
Why Many Job Seekers Want the Salary Included
Reports have shown that candidates are more likely to apply to a role if the salary has been shown.
So why is that?
It’s a given that everyone needs to be able to support themselves and their loved ones financially. When a job seeker is searching for a role, they (hopefully) factor in their costs of living, additional expenses and apply for roles that meet this universal need. When the salary isn’t included in the job description, many job seekers can somewhat see the recruitment process as a “waste” of valuable time. Pay is a major factor in applying for a job, much less continuing on throughout the interview process.
Transparency is built on trust from both ends. If an employer isn’t transparent about the salary, job seekers commonly find it difficult to trust the employer, their company, and their incentives.
Discussing the salary can be a risky and uncomfortable situation where it’s a complete balancing act between broaching the topic and being portrayed as “not passionate enough” or seen as if they’re applying for the wrong reasons. For those less confident job seekers, they may also feel as if they are inconveniencing the employer by bringing up the topic of pay.
Why Many Employers Create Job Ads Without the Salary
The other side of the debate is that employers are not obligated to disclose salary information within the job ad. Let’s uncover why…
A major reason why salaries are not disclosed in the job ad is confidentiality, both internally and externally.
An organisation’s current and long-standing employees can easily stumble across the posted salary of a new job ad. If they weren’t offered the same starting wage or above or are not currently earning more than a new hire, that could understandably upset employees where they may start salary benchmarking colleagues. There would hopefully be a legitimate reason behind any pay difference, but it’s easy to jump to conclusions without understanding the reason why.
Another risk is providing competitors with an opportunity to understand a company’s workforce budget and approach current staff members.
Another reason is that the market is continuously fluctuating, meaning the wages are as well. Many employers believe that if the salary is not included, they receive fewer resumes to filter through, and have direct access to candidates in a tight market.
Research and Negotiations
Before hiring the right candidate, employers need to review what they can afford while trying to match what the candidate is currently earning, what they are expecting, and what they are willing to accept. It’s thought that a job seeker needs to first demonstrate their value, evaluate current industry salaries, then decide what they can offer.
As an employer slowly begins to collect this information, they’re given a negotiation advantage. Why offer someone $60k if they’re expecting $55k? That saves an employer $5k a year. Ethical or not, this could be a reason why a candidate may not know the salary upfront.
High-End Salary Range
If an employer posts a salary range and they offer you the lower end pay, this could create bad blood from day one. An employee may become resentful from the start thinking that they got the short end of the stick with their “low” salary.
The Broader Picture
Companies are becoming more mindful of creating a more equitable workplace for everyone where disregarding salary transparency is even becoming illegal in some countries.
Countries are beginning to create policies that now make it mandatory to post expected salaries on job listings. Latvia, for example, had a law that came into effect in 2019 that does exactly this. However, now that many of us are working remotely, these laws make it difficult to hire someone who resides in an area that does have these laws and policies in place. This has led to a “no-hire from X location” list, allowing businesses to maintain full control over their job ads.
Combatting the Gender Pay Gap
Willingness to negotiate salaries differ between men and women, ultimately impacting gender pay gaps. Shelly Holt, the chief people officer at software company PayScale, says: “Pay transparency actually closes that gender pay gap, and that’s likely because we know that women are less likely to negotiate and more likely to be penalised for asking higher pay”.
How to Discuss a Salary with a Potential Employer
If you’re a job seeker, you may be uncertain about how and when to bring up the somewhat uncomfortable topic of pay. Some recommendations to take into consideration are:
Research average salaries in your field. This is a great way to develop a better understanding of what others in your field are earning (based on experience, location, etc.) and how they are performing.
2. Timing and Wording
There are different times to discuss a role’s salary. It can be in a job ad, during one of the interviews, or right when you are being offered the job. Towards the end of your interview, you may want to reflect on how it’s going. Are you still interested in the role? Have you effectively demonstrated your capability? Do they seem happy with what you can offer? If you answered yes to all of these, go ahead and politely ask if they have a salary range, they are working within for this particular role.
3. Salary Range
If the salary range is included, yet you still want to know how you can earn on the higher end of the scale, ask what the employer’s expectations are at different marks within the range. Ask, “Where do you expect an employee to be to earn X, Y, and Z?” Their answer is, again, based on some level of trust, but it is an effective way to meet them halfway and highlight that your professional development is important.
This growing movement of maintaining salary transparency has been a widely talked about debate among job seekers and employers alike. If you’re creating a job ad, it’s best to weigh out the pros and cons of not including a salary, and if you’re searching for a role, we recommend you consider whether or not you need to know the salary off the bat.
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