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Include the salary range in the job description or not? Pros & cons

Updated: Mar 5

75% of job applicants said it was important to know the salary range before applying. Should we list the information in the JD? Here are some pros and cons to consider.


Job Description Management

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The phrase “playing it close to the vest” is a well-known phrase used when we want to keep power in the form of information to help us keep an advantage in negotiations. Poker comes to mind when using this phrase; it also brings to mind corporate strategy around salary data in job descriptions. But is this the right strategy employers should have? Is it better to treat salary information like the “ace up our sleeve” in order to get talent on the cheap or to avoid our competitors knowing what we pay or is it better to be transparent with talent coming in by giving a range up front in the job description?


If we put ourselves in the seats of our applicants- the latter seems to be obviously the more appealing answer. If we want only talent to apply that is interested in our company, mission, and culture, we need to treat the decision as a big one for the applicant. If we compare applying to a job with the intent of long-term growth and development to buying a home; would you ever visit a home with the intent to buy without knowing the price?


When crafting job descriptions, employers often grapple with whether or not to include salary ranges. This decision can significantly impact the number of applicants, the quality of candidates, and the overall hiring process.


According to a survey Glassdoor did in 2020 76% of applicants said it was important to know the salary range before applying. Furthermore, a study done by LinkedIn found that job descriptions with salary information got 30% more views and applications increased by 75%!


Clearly those numbers show a benefit to increase applications by listing the salary information in a job description. But what are some of the other pros and cons to listing the info? Here are a few:


Pros of Including Salary Ranges in Job Descriptions


1 - Attract Qualified Candidates

Posting the salary range can help attract candidates who are within that salary bracket. It ensures that applicants have realistic expectations about compensation, leading to a more efficient hiring process.


2 - Enhances Transparency

Transparency in compensation promotes trust and goodwill. It demonstrates that the organization values fairness and openness, which can boost its employer brand and reputation.


"76% of applicants said it was important to know the salary range before applying." – Glassdoor 2020


3 - Reduces Wage Gap

Providing a salary range can help combat wage gaps. This ensures everyone has the same information about the role's worth, regardless of their negotiating skills or prior salary history.


3 - Saves Time

Listing the salary upfront can save both the employer's and the candidate's time. Candidates who find the salary unsuitable will be less likely to apply, allowing the hiring team to focus on potential fits.


Cons of Including Salary Ranges in Job Descriptions


1 - Limits Negotiation Flexibility

If a salary range is listed, candidates will naturally gravitate toward the higher end of the spectrum. This could limit the company's ability to negotiate and potentially lead to higher salary costs.


2 - Potential for Internal Discontent

Existing employees may feel disgruntled if they discover they're being paid less than a new hire. This could lead to internal discord and dissatisfaction.


3 - Competitor Advantage

Competitors can view the salary range and potentially offer higher pay to entice quality candidates away.

"Job descriptions with salary information get 30% more views and applications increased by 75%." – LinkedIn

4 - Misrepresentation of Total Compensation

Salary is just one component of the total compensation package. Listing it separately may lead candidates to overlook other benefits such as health insurance, retirement contributions, and other perks.


Conclusion


The decision to include salary ranges in job descriptions is a tough one for organizations. The weight of pros and cons comes down to a balance between promoting transparency and managing the potential implications it could have internally and externally. Employers need to consider their industry norms, company culture, and hiring goals before making this decision.


While including salary ranges can streamline the hiring process and enhance transparency, it also comes with potential drawbacks. Therefore, it's crucial to approach this decision strategically to ensure it aligns with the overall business and hiring objectives.


In an ever-evolving job market, staying flexible and open to change is key. As such, the decision on salary transparency might need to be revisited and revised based on the changing business environment and talent acquisition strategies.


Looking for a structured job description design and management process that can also help your teams make nimble changes like salary transparency? Mosh JD can do that. Learn More today!


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