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78% of People Can’t be Wrong

Would you apply for a vacancy on a job board that does not display a salary range?

We recently asked this question in a poll on LinkedIn and the results were conclusive!  No, 78% of 3,947 respondents said they would not apply, but more on that later.

Imagine; there you are, scouring online job boards for your next role and you find a position that looks perfect.  The location is good, the level is a comfortable step up and you can tick all the boxes for the experience required.  You are looking for a slight increase in salary, but the advert does not display a salary range.

Are you one of the 78% that would scroll past?  Surely, if the salary on offer was truly ‘competitive’ or ‘excellent’, why hide it?

Is there a good reason to hide salaries on an advert?

As recruiters working in a candidate short market, we need every tool at our disposal to attract the right candidates for the roles we advertise and being instructed by a client not to display salaries on advertising, significantly reduces the number of quality applications we receive.

Looking at the comments on the LinkedIn poll, the general consensus seems to be that there is something to hide, whether that be the salary being offered, or is there something else underlying this omission?

Our poll certainly roused strong feelings and we were astounded by the amount of interaction it received.  Below is a small sample of comments people shared from the post to substantiate our thoughts.

“Never understood why employers feel it necessary to hide behind “competitive salary” in job ads.  Probably means they are not paying anywhere near a competitive salary!”

“ … putting market rate is no good either as it usually means below market rate”

“Usually hides the fact that the client is embarrassed by the salary on offer!”

“Definitely has always put me off – it instantly gives you an impression of something to hide which usually means they’re not proud of their salary offer. I’ve heard the arguments about other employees having their noses put out of joint but that only indicates that they don’t pay existing staff competitive rates.”

“If they can’t state a salary,  you can’t judge how much they would value you.”

“I think most people have a minimum they need to earn and wouldn’t want to waste everybody’s time applying if the salary wasn’t high enough.”

“If you have no salary mentioned, it can waste a lot of time and effort on both sides if the salary falls way short of what the candidate is used to, or expects…”

“I think it can be tricky for companies that maybe have different pay rates internally for the same role, if those employees see a similar job role advertised externally but for a higher rate then it might start a flood of pay rise requests.”

Either way, living in these times where transparency is paramount for companies and institutions, hiding salaries on job adverts can only be detrimental to the recruitment process overall and will undoubtedly encourage mistrust, not only of the firm that is recruiting, but also to us, the agency.

We pride ourselves on being an open, honest and ethical recruitment agency and being told that we cannot display salaries on our adverts not only goes against the grain, but also reduces our chances of finding suitable candidates for these roles.  It is frustrating for us because much of the time, the salaries that we are asked to hide, ironically, are not low and very much in line with market rates.

Where is the evidence of low numbers of applications for adverts not displaying a salary?

Our LinkedIn poll speaks for itself and the low volume of CVs that come into our inbox for these roles bears out this data, but that aside, the job boards are always telling us that adverts without salaries receive significantly fewer applications. According to a Jobsite/Totaljobs recruiter advice: “Including a salary on your job ad increases applications by up to 20%.”.  When we advertise a vacancy on Jobsite/Totaljobs without a salary, the automatic response from the job board is: “Including accurate salary information will significantly improve your job’s performance”. Our Account Manager at CV Library sent us their ‘Candidate Behaviour Barometer’ and within this, it is stated that salary is the most important factor to 73.8% of respondents.  Given this statistic, surely advertising the salary is a crucial element for candidate attraction. Our poll, along with what the job boards are constantly telling us, reiterates that displaying a salary range on job adverts massively improves the application rate and further to this, we have found that the quality of application is higher for adverts with salaries advertised, particularly so with passive candidates who are testing the market. Interestingly, a blog from states that: “One of the greatest barriers to including a salary scale on job postings is tradition.”.  The blog also suggests that: “One way to ensure that your organisation is on a committed path to equality and fairness is to disclose salary ranges.”.  This will assist firms in their efforts to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Having carried out this research, one thing is clear to us as recruiters; the majority of people would rather see a salary range on a job advert and would be sceptical of those not displaying this important information and further to this, they would be far less likely to apply.  Therefore, the message to firms that don’t want recruiters to advertise salaries is maybe they should consider the connotation that is conveyed.