Why you should always state salary in your job ads  

Salaries always have and always will be a hot topic. Whether we are looking at living wages, tax allowances, or opportunities to progress, the subject of money can often be a contentious one and tricky to navigate. Ultimately, everyone has bills to pay, and lives to live, so why the eggshells around money?

Looking at Reed.co.uk’s data*, in 2021, we found a 27% increase in the number of applications for jobs that disclosed a salary. Additionally, our recent survey** explored how candidates are influenced by salary transparency to determine whether they are more likely to apply if they know how much they can earn (a given, right?). And our data showed that 40% said salary was the biggest motivator in applying for a job, followed by job location (21%) and commute time (7%). So it begs the question…

Why don’t employers want to post salaries in job ads?

The market is in a long-standing state of being candidate-driven, so getting eyes on your job ad is the first hurdle to cross. With so many options for candidates, you are competing from the off to get your adverts read. If we can’t attract jobseekers immediately, then all the good stuff in the advert goes to waste.

Yet, 44% of those hiring said they either never or only sometimes post salary in their job ads. 35% said this is because pay is dependent on experience. And then 25% said they do not want to rock the boat internally by showing how much a new hire is coming in at – keep it all hush, hush. And while this tactic is understandable to a point, it’s likely detrimental to other goals in your business. For example, positive employer brand and increased diversity goals could be at risk of negative press and interpretation if salaries appear to be swept under the rug by management.

The stats show that stating your salary is critical to job ad success, but we appreciate you may need a little more convincing…

We take a look through our market data to show you the significant benefits of pay transparency and why you should include salary in your job ads.

Reasons why you should include salary in your job ads:

1. Increase your diversity

While salary transparency alone will not increase diversity in your company, it should be a fundamental tactic of your diversity and inclusion strategy. The data shows that some hiring managers are open to pay transparency, with 21% stating their salaries in a specific effort to attract applications from diverse candidates.

In response, job ads that stated salaries saw over a quarter increase in applications from diverse candidates (27%). But when over three-quarters of diverse applicants won’t or are less likely to apply for a role without a salary stated – a whopping 81% – there is room for improvement.

Nevertheless, when a business is looking for ways to attract diverse candidates into their organisation, this simple addition to a job ad is a proven way to genuinely bring candidates to the business. Excellent training and benefits and targeted marketing undoubtedly have merit, but the stats show that salary and transparency are as crucial in diversity and inclusion as anywhere else.

2. Close the gender pay gap

An ongoing issue, the gender pay gap is making a steady if slow decline overall. The government reported that the pay gap increased to 15.4% in 2021, up from 14.9% in 2020, but still down from 17.4% in 2019. But there is still much work to do, with significant disparages in every industry and high salaried professional roles still seeing a particular deficit in gender salary differences.

Changing legacy attitudes and stigma is part of the process, but where businesses strive to make a change, stating salaries and showing that salary and negotiations are welcome conversations will make a difference. In our survey, 27% of women felt uncomfortable negotiating salary vs 13% of men. When backed up with studies showing that this lack and likely fear of negotiation can contribute to the pay gap, companies must show that salary isn’t a dirty word and that asking (appropriately) for more money won’t be shot down at the first time of asking.

3. Protect your employer brand

Candidates are savvier than ever, and with more information at their fingertips, they (quite rightly) will do their homework on your business to get a well-rounded view of where they are potentially applying for. Transparency is a biggy here, and when salary is a key motivator to apply for a role, its absence can leave a sour taste from the off. From our findings, 48% said the lack of salary has a negative impact on the way they view a company, vs 15% who said the opposite.

Why is the company holding it back? What else don’t they share? Is it a ‘them’ and ‘us’ environment? Do they not want to/or can’t they pay their employees properly? All questions that can easily be triggered with the absence of a salary, potentially tarnishing the business, culture and ethos unnecessarily.

4. Save time and stay relevant

Salary is a primary filter for candidates searching for jobs, so adding it to your job ads is a no-brainer here. The recruitment process has so many considerations already, so reducing the talent pool to manageable and relevant applications is helpful and essential to keeping things running smoothly. A tangible benefit in your recruitment process, stating the salary to encourage applicants from the right salary bracket will save you time and money in the long run (combined with a proper job ad, of course), attracting more relevant and serious candidates to your opportunities.

5. Young people won’t apply

Why is this important? Well, with 14.26 million in the millennial age bracket in the UK alone, they make up a hugely significant part of the candidate market. And with the range of jobs available for job seekers more varied than ever to meet the needs of a digitally savvy population, the competition for talent is fierce. Our survey found that a hefty 48% of 18-35 year olds have a negative perception of a company that doesn’t post the salary in their job ads. When you look at that percentage in real terms of people in jobs, that’s a whole lot of talent turned off before they’ve even got past the job title.

6. Candidates will work it out for themselves

The danger here is that misinformation can incorrectly influence a candidates’ decision, meaning they miss out on potentially perfect opportunities. In turn, businesses lose talent before they’ve had a chance to meet them. With the cost of living and the economic climate playing a massive role in everyday plans and the future, candidates will naturally want to know if a job is financially viable for them, sometimes at the expense of fit and desire for the role.

Everyone we asked said they discuss salary with their family or partner, which without the correct information, can result in their decision to apply for a job or not being negatively affected.

Don’t leave it for candidates to work it out for themselves and compare you unfairly to other businesses. Instead, stand out and give them all the information they need upfront with an accurate idea of the salary coming from the source to make an informed decision – you’ll get better candidates as a result.

7. Combine with benefits to boost your attraction

We mentioned earlier that benefits play a role, and it is a significant one at that. Of course, salary is the kicker for the majority, but candidates want and expect more from their employers, and a sizeable, or at least desired, salary alone won’t necessarily cut it. And gone are the days where a phone, free tea and coffee and a beanbag count as benefits.

Employees also want tangible benefits that help make life in and outside the workplace more positive, and they expect the two to work in harmony together. 40% of candidates said that they will still apply for a job below their salary expectation – hard to do if there is no salary to aid this decision. So, post the salary and benefits they can expect when working for you, and you will see an uplift in your relevant applications.

So there we have it, just a few of the significant benefits to posting the salary on your job ad. Doing so makes your job ad more attractive and effectively balances your needs with those of your potential candidates. Our articles can help you with finding the right candidates for your organisation, support their professional development, and so much more, all of which you can find here.

*Analysis of jobs adverts on Reed.co.uk during 2021.
**This online survey was conducted by Atomik Research and consisted of 2,008 adults in the UK (95% were employed and 5% were unemployed). This survey took place between the 4th – 11th February 2022. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides by the MRS code.