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Why disclosing salary on job postings is a must – and 3 tips for doing it right

February 22, 2022
By Amanda Hudson


(johan10/Adobe Stock)

In today’s uncertain labour market, many employers are struggling to find and retain talent.

The good news is that making minor tweaks to your recruitment process could make all the difference to your hiring success.

The most important of these adjustments is the decision to disclose salary on your job postings.

Based on our experience with companies that have adopted this practice, here are reasons why disclosing salary is a must — and three tips for doing it right.

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Disclosure saves time

Depending on the organization, a job title like “Marketing Manager” can reflect a salary ranging anywhere from $70 to $140K. When companies neglect to disclose salary on their job postings, they risk having candidates with a wide array of expectations apply.

Not only does this waste your valuable time, it can create unmet expectations on the part of the candidates, leading to difficult or failed negotiations in turn.

Waiting until the end of the recruitment process to determine a role’s value is too late. By sharing salaries upfront, you eliminate financial surprises and encourage candidates to self-select, ensuring they’ll be more open to your job offer.

Disclosure encourages pay equity

Determining a position’s value before you know who the candidates are prevents bias creeping into your salary negotiations.

With a plan to effectively “see what they can get,” many companies wait to see who applies so they can offer the lowest possible salary they think a candidate will accept. Sadly, this often contributes to women and other minority groups being underpaid, since they’re historically less likely to negotiate salary.

By determining a job’s value to your organization, you can avoid determining a person’s value to your organization — and you’ll make fairer compensation choices as a result.

Advocates call for pay transparency to address wage gap, labour shortages

Convinced or curious about the impact disclosing salary on job postings could have on your organization?

Here are three tips to help you do it right:

1. Create a well-defined job posting

Many companies spend too little time upfront thinking about role requirements. Often when we ask “what will this person do” during a recruitment discovery process, we hear attributes of a candidate who might be a good fit.

Rather than sending a vague job posting to market — and using the applicants to create role and salary expectations — focus on what your hire will specifically need to achieve and the areas of ownership they’ll be responsible for.

One way to think about this is to ask: “If I could hire a person who met all my expectations for this role, what would I be willing to pay?” If you can’t answer clearly, you need to spend more time thinking through the outcomes you’re after.

2. Keep your salary range narrow

Posting a wide salary range, like $60 to 85K for example, tells potential candidates nothing of value — and most will simply assume they’ll be paid at the upper end of your range anyway.

Plus, if you honestly believe that the candidate you choose will determine which end of a wide pay gap you offer, then you haven’t effectively defined the role you’re hiring for (see Tip #1).

Here are our guidelines for posting salary ranges:

  • For roles valued below $55K, post the exact highest amount you’re willing to pay or a maximum $5K salary spread
  • For roles valued between $55 to $135K, post a maximum $10K spread
  • For roles valued over $125K, post a maximum $15K spread

By keeping your job posting salaries narrowly defined, you’ll attract the right candidates and save time by deterring applicants whose salary expectations fall outside your price range.

3. Face your disclosure fears

While we’ve heard many versions of why a company might be reluctant to disclose salary on job postings, it comes down to the same reason in every case: by sharing the salary for this role, they might upset someone already in their employ.

If you are, in fact, underpaying an employee based on the salary you’re posting — up their pay! Thinking that you’re getting “a good deal” because someone is willing to work for less than their role is worth is short-sighted, and will eventually lead to high turnover.

If, on the other hand, you’re paying that person fairly, this is a great time to level-set expectations by sharing the “why” behind their pay, and helping them focus on the contributions they’d need to make to achieve a salary increase.

Remember: As more and more workers reprioritize their needs, there’s never been a better time to cultivate trust and transparency within your organization by disclosing salary on your job postings.

Amanda Hudson is a double-certified HR expert changing the way organizations perceive and use HR to build their business. Throw in an executive MBA, almost 20 years of people management, plus a sixth sense for problem solving and you’ve got the credibility behind her consultancy A Modern Way To Work. Amanda’s philosophy on modern HR is one you won’t hear anywhere else: the sign of a job well done is when you’ve coached a team so effectively, you’ve worked yourself out of a job.


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