What Companies Really Hide by Not Providing Salary Information

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Salary is an important consideration for job seekers, but it’s not something you’ll see advertised on a lot of online job postings. The vast majority of postings don’t include salary ranges, which has become a major gripe for those searching for work.

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That might change as more state and local governments require companies to disclose pay ranges on job listings, CNN reported — and as more companies use salary listings as a way to lure workers in a tight labor market.

For now, only about 12% of postings from U.S. online job sites include salary ranges, according to CNN, which cited comments from Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter. A separate survey from Joblist found that while 43% of hiring managers believe disclosing salary information in job postings attracts better candidates, only 35% of companies regularly include salary information in such postings.

Why Employers Avoid Posting Salary Ranges Online

Why don’t more employers put salary info in job listings? One reason has to do with competition — companies don’t want their rivals knowing how much they pay. But a bigger reason is that employers figure they can hire job candidates for less money if they don’t disclose a pay range ahead of time.

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Employers “don’t want informed consumers,” Katie Donovan, founder of consulting firm Equal Pay Negotiations, told CNN.

“The more informed the consumer is, the harder it is to negotiate a savings of any kind,” Donovan added. “There’s definitely a mindset that the job of recruiting and hiring is to bring in the best person at not a penny more than needed.”

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But employers in some parts of the country won’t have that luxury much longer. In New York City a new law requiring employers to include salary ranges on job listings will go into effect in May. The law applies to organizations with four or more employees, but excludes temporary staffing firms.

“Our new law shines a light on pay inequity,” Helen Rosenthal, a former city council member and sponsor of the bill, told CNN last month. “Including pay ranges in job postings allows job seekers to determine whether they will be able to support themselves and their family when they apply for a job.”

A similar law in Colorado has been on the books since Jan. 2021. Several other states, including Rhode Island and Maryland, are considering legislation that requires employers to provide salary ranges upon request.

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Disclosing pay ranges on job listings can actually be beneficial to both employers and employees. For example, employers can attract more and better job applicants by putting their pay ranges out there for all to see.

“When people are searching for work, [compensation] is the most salient concern typically,” Pollak said. “If they don’t find the [salary] information they need, they may not waste the time going through the process at all.”

That means employers might be missing out on good candidates at a time when just about every sector of the economy is understaffed to begin with.

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For employees, seeing salaries listed in job postings gives them a better sense of their monetary worth in the current job market.

“If you have the ability to know what salary is being offered and know what others are earning, then you are in a position to advocate for yourself,” Laurie Berke-Weiss, principal attorney at New York labor and employment law firm Berke-Weiss, told CNN.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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