Why Isn’t Salary Disclosed Earlier in the Recruiting Process? Here’s What 500+ Hiring Managers Had To Say

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Conventional wisdom holds that pay shouldn’t be the only consideration, or even the main one, when choosing a job, but many job seekers still put money at or near the top of the wish list. Even so, most won’t find out how much a job pays until deep into the interview process — and only about one-third will see salaries posted in job listings, according to a new survey from Joblist.

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The survey of more than 500 hiring managers, released last month, 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. Most of the latter companies only disclose salaries for certain jobs rather than all of them. Large employers are more likely to disclose salary info than smaller ones.

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When asked how frequently companies disclose salary information on job postings, here’s how the responses broke down:

  • Never: 16%
  • Rarely: 22%
  • Sometimes: 27%
  • Often: 19%
  • Always: 17%

Why do so many employers avoid posting salary information on job listings? The main reason is that they want to attract candidates who are a “great fit” and who want to work at the company regardless of the pay, according to Joblist, a platform that matches job candidates with employers.

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Of the companies that tend not to disclose salaries in job postings, 30% said it was because putting salaries in job listings forces them to raise pay overall. Another 21% said it’s because doing so attracts less qualified candidates, and 17% said it’s because doing so attracts fewer candidates overall.

Of the companies more inclined to disclose salaries in job listings, about two-thirds (65%) said it was because they can attract more candidates overall, and 43% said it’s because they can attract more qualified candidates.

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Meanwhile, the overall attitude about disclosing salaries appears to be changing, driven by both economic and legislative forces. On the economic side, employers have to offer more perks such as higher pay — and promote those perks in job listings — to compete for workers in the current tight labor market brought about by the Great Resignation.

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On the legislative side, a growing number of states have either passed or are considering pay transparency laws requiring companies to disclose salary information sooner in the hiring process — and in some cases, in the job listings themselves, according to the National Law Review.

In Colorado, for example, any company recruiting for a job in the state must include the following in the job posting: wage rate or range for the role, a general description of other compensation available for the role and a general description of benefits for the role.

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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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