May 21, 2014

Should I Include Salary Details In My Job Advert?

Businessman looking to a chalkboard with a question markThis may seem like a mundane question to be asking, and I guess many of you will see this as a simple question requiring a simple, binary yes-or-no answer. Well, it’s far from that as the way in which this question is answered and how you present or don’t present pay scales in your job adverts can have far reaching effects on your ability to attract and retain talent.

In truth, it seems that the industry can’t conclusively agree on whether they think it’s right or wrong to include salaries. However, the marginal majority of employers adopt a more coy approach,  with an Adzuna study finding that just over 50 percent of employers in the UK and U.S., respectively, do not publish salaries in their job adverts. But, the year-on-year trend is moving away from publishing salaries online. So, if you were to blindly follow industry trends without question, you’d choose to exclude salary details from jobs ads.

But, it’s important to be aware of the impact of not including salary details. There is no question that excluding salary details in job adverts can be a deterrent to talent. For example, a study by SMART Recruit Online  suggests that job adverts with salary details will get 30 percent more applicants while Jobsite estimates that drop off rates for job adverts without salary details are between 25-35 percent. Can you really afford to lose that many potential applicants? It can also lead to a frustrating candidate experience, which will damage your employer brand as candidates spend time applying for roles that they later find don’t meet their expectations.

But, of course some employers are prepared to lose this many applicants and this is because there are some severe drawbacks to publishing salaries. This is based around the fact that salaries are sensitive and private and many companies don’t want their competitors or internal employees knowing what other employees are paid. Publishing salary ranges on job sites is tantamount to disclosing corporate secrets. It can enable your competitors to outbid you in the race for talent and can cause severe employee relations issues if there is a lack of equity in your pay system.

So, what is an employer to do in these circumstances? I think it probably depends on your own business circumstances and there probably isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. For example, if you are a well-known employer that receives a surplus of applicants for every role, you can easily absorb the applicant reduction penalty that follows when you exclude salaries. You also have plenty of credits in the bank with candidate experience and can also absorb the candidate frustration associated with not disclosing salaries. This means that there is no pressure to include salaries if you are an employer super brand.

But, if you are not a well-known employer, you can’t really on your brand appeal to attract talent and sustain interest – and as a result may find that you struggle to get enough applicants to your job roles. If you are one of these companies then ideally you would include salaries so you can maximize applicants to your job. If you are concerned about alerting employees and competitors of your salaries, you could cite a broader range to disguise the exact salary. However, if you feel that any mention of salaries is going to create issues of equal pay and fairness within your business, then you may, of course, need to address this problem first before publishing your salaries.

What do you think, should employers include salary details in job posts?

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Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.