Should salary be included on job ads? - Recruitment Revolution

Should salary be included on job ads?


When you’re advertising a job opening should you include the salary or salary range on the listing? Or should you simply list it as ‘competitive’, ‘depending on experience’ or even ask applicants what their salary expectations are? There are plenty of job ads out there that do all of these things but how does the way you approach salary on a job ad impact the quality and quantity of applications you receive?


Here are a few things to consider when filling out the salary section on a job advert.


  • Pro: It’s one of the first things job seekers look for


According to a survey carried out by LinkedIn, 70% of professionals wanted to hear about salary in the first communication from a recruiter. In addition to this, Monica Lewis, head of product for LinkedIn Jobs said that “With 59 percent of candidates stating that salary was the leading factor that contributed to feeling fulfilled in their career, understanding pay and benefits is clearly top of mind during the job search.”


If potential candidates are scanning through a list of jobs that do have salary ranges and your role doesn’t, you risk being overlooked. Top candidates will also be looking for a salary in the higher end of the competitive range for their role and may well be using salary as a means to guide their job search. Your role may not catch their eye if there is no salary listed.


There’s also the chance that they’ll try to find out anyway. Websites like Glassdoor allow current employees to list their salaries. Be careful with this as this may set unrealistic expectations. For example, if an employee has listed a salary that is higher than you’re offering because they have many years of experience in the role and have worked hard to obtain pay rises, a job seeker may not realise this and expect that same salary.


  • Con: Salary disclosure reveals your hand to the competition


When you post a job ad with salary disclosed, you’re not only letting potential employees know what sort of salary to expect but you may be providing your competition with valuable information. This could help them with their own recruitment efforts, for example, they could offer slightly more in an attempt to seem more attractive to the top talent.


If your starting salaries are at the lower end of the scale but you have an attractive progression policy that will allow employees to build on this quickly, this might not be clear from a quick glance at the ad and your competitors may have the edge on you. Have a quick look at the jobs boards yourself before posting your ad and check your closest competitors to see where your salary sits in the range in the current market.


If you’re concerned about posting a salary because you pay less than your competitors overall, you may need to go back to the drawing board either with the job description or the salary. Equally, if you find that you’re only receiving low-quality applications for a role, it could be a sign that the salary and responsibilities of the role aren’t matching up.


  • Pro: Disclosing a salary range could mean that you get more relevant applications


If you’re upfront about the salary from the start, you’ll cut down on the number of applications you receive from under- or over-qualified applicants. Salary can be a useful indicator for job seekers as to how senior a role is. Many job seekers with little experience are given the advice to ‘just give it a go’ for roles they aren’t yet qualified for. Having the salary range there will dissuade these more speculative applications and free up more of your time to consider the top candidates.


On the other hand, the salary may end up being too low for some applicants with more experience than the role demands. Don’t let it get to the final interview stage for them to find this out. Some candidates don’t want to appear too money-driven and leave it until the last moment to ask about salary if it wasn’t advertised. If they can’t afford to accept the salary on offer, or they’re being interviewed elsewhere for a role with a higher salary, your company could have wasted time and resources on the recruitment process for this candidate.


Also bear in mind that candidates are unlikely to want to move to a new organisation for a lower salary or the same salary that they’re currently on. Salary can often be the motivating factor for someone wanting to move jobs in the first place. Make sure you disclose the salary range early on in the process, even if it’s not in the original job ad.


  • Con: Disclosing salary could cause problems internally


Think carefully about disclosing salary if you think there are members of staff who might have an issue with what you’re offering for the role. For example, if someone has a similar role but started on a lower salary, or if they’ve been with your organisation a while and have a salary comparable or even less than what you’re offering, they may be offended. You may have a very good reason for these differences in salary, however, it’s important this is understood, rather than your current employees harbouring a grudge.


  • Pro: Including salary can help build trust


Some job seekers might be suspicious if you don’t include a salary on the job ad. They may think that the reason it hasn’t been disclosed is that it is lower than the competition or that you are sizing them up before offering as little as you think you can get away with. This is not a healthy way to start a working relationship and if you can’t disclose salary on a job ad, consider explaining to applicants why this is if they make it to the interview stage.


With transparency in business becoming more and more important, it’s crucial that you apply this across all company policies, including salary. It’s becoming less of a taboo to discuss how much you earn among friends and family, especially amongst the younger generations. This openness regarding finances leads Millenials and the younger generations now entering the workforce to expect to see salaries included on job ads. And with these generations soon to make up the vast majority of employees, it makes sense to focus on their needs and expectations.


There are many arguments for and against including a salary range on a job advert. It’s important that you give this some thought as salary is one of the first things that job seekers are looking at. In today’s market, with an increasing focus on transparency, it’s generally better to include a range even if it’s relatively wide and especially if you’re targeting the younger generations. This will ensure that you’re receiving more applications from the right kinds of candidates and not wading through a pile of irrelevant CVs.


There may be some very good reasons why you can’t include the salary in the ad. It may be company policy that you have no control over or there may be other internal issues to contend with. If this is the case, make sure you include other perks and benefits to add value to the role and capture the attention of top talent.