The groundwork to advertising salaries on job adverts

What do you need to do to be transparent with salaries internally and externally?

Victoria November 22, 2021
Reading time: 4 minutes

There’s a lot of noise on social media about whether businesses should advertise salaries on job adverts. There’s a growing fatigue amongst job seekers, weariness of spending time applying for roles, sharing details about themselves and not getting much in return.


Evidence suggests that businesses who put salaries, or salary ranges, on an advert will receive high volumes and better quality applications. 61% of job seekers state that salary was the most important part of the job description for them. 


Often the reason provided by organisations for not adding salaries to adverts is ‘we want to see who is in the market and we don’t want to put off more experienced candidates’. However, it is often more likely that organisations just aren’t in good enough shape to be completely transparent with salaries externally. 


If you want to start advertising salaries openly, proceed with caution. If you have inequalities in your pay, advertising externally is likely to shine a light on them. Inequalities of pay get to the heart of what employees consider to be “fair” in an organisation. Even the best written organisational values can start to unravel if employee’s don’t believe their basic needs, such as fair remuneration are being met. 


Draw on data 


Collate a list of salaries and look at how you are paying people across the group. This exercise is about identifying trends in the data to reveal biases or inequality. With the data, ask yourself;


  • Are you clear on what a fair salary is for each role internally?
  • Are you clear on what a fair salary is for each role externally?
  • Is anyone overpaid? How did that happen? 
  • Who is underpaid? How did that happen? 
  • If you need additional budget to address inequalities, where can that come from?
  • Are you at risk of any claims? How can you mitigate this?
  • Are you at risk of losing great talent, 
  • Are you at risk of failing to recruit the talent you need?
  • Can you afford to do this?
  • Can you afford NOT to do this?


Implement a grading / salary framework


Many larger organisations have a job grading / salary framework. Some just provide general guidance. Others provide very precise guidance of what salary is attached to each role.


The advantage of a framework, or some structure like this is that once you have placed everyone in the framework, you can use this to ensure that there is no future drift. 


It is possible to introduce a framework like this without a formal job grading methodology behind it. Although it’s likely that this kind of methodology will become more appropriate in a larger organisation where it can help to strip a role back to its component parts to be able to compare it. 


Supporting your leaders and managers to have conversations about reward 


If you’re going to advertise salaries externally, it is likely that leaders and managers will get asked questions. For their own credibility, they need to be able to tackle these conversations confidently.


Talking about salary, reward and careers is a skill. It may be that you need to invest in upskilling your people managers in this area to support their conversations. Inexperienced line managers can get themselves into all kinds of hot water by being underprepared for these conversations! 


Is it worth it? 


Advertising a salary is likely to have an instant impact on the volume and quality of applications you receive for vacancies you advertise. If advertised on social media your adverts, without salaries attached, can attract a lot of negative attention too.


But doing the groundwork to be confident to advertise salaries externally, it will also have an impact on your existing team. It’s been reported that when there is a pay gap perceived amongst employees (whether there actually is a gap or not) it results in a 16% decrease in their intent to stay in an organisation. This makes for a pretty compelling argument for pay transparency in your organisation. 


Taking this action will shift your culture and engagement. But if you get it right, it’ll be hugely positive for any organisation and likely contribute to finding and retaining the best talent.



If you’d like to talk to Space HR, about how we can support you during this cultural change, get in touch! www.spacehr.co.uk. 



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