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Should salaries be included in job descriptions?

Business people discussion advisor concept
Reaearch has also shown that when job descriptions include a salary range, recruiters get over 30% more applicants. Photo: Getty

Money might not be everything when you’re looking for a new job, but it’s certainly important. Although candidates place details of the job itself before salary information when looking at job listings, compensation information is still one of the top three things 61% of candidates expect to see.

However, a survey of over 14,600 professionals and employers found only 46% of recruiters always include salary information in job adverts.

As a job seeker, it can be frustrating to find an interesting role with no mention of the pay. It can also be off-putting if you suspect the compensation might be less than it should be. So should salary information be included in a job advert — and are there any downsides?

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“As employees, we all want to be paid what we’re worth — especially when it comes to taking a new job,” says Derren Bevington, business director at the recruitment agency Michael Page.

READ MORE: How coronavirus can help you achieve switching careers

“This means it’s important to be aware of the average UK salary for the role you’re hiring for to check yourself against the competition and ensure the wage you are offering is fair,” he adds.

“In order to hire the best talent, you have to remunerate staff competitively. Being clear about the package on offer demonstrates a degree of transparency and that you are serious about hiring the best person for the role.”

While a salary isn’t the only thing which determines whether or not a candidate will apply for a job, people may look to move roles if they don’t feel satisfied with the pay. By outlining a salary range, candidates will have the option to decide whether to apply, based on their financial requirements.

“In the current market, more than ever, transparency is crucial,” explains Bevington. “Including salaries within job descriptions can provide a clear indication of what is on offer from a compensation perspective and the cultural components can be covered at the interview stage. This therefore means less screening time for companies looking to hire.”

Research has also shown that when job descriptions include a salary range, recruiters get over 30% more applicants.

Moreover, it makes it easier to see if a company is paying its employees less than it should be. And if a business doesn’t pay fairly, it may be a sign of a toxic culture, as well as unrealistic expectations.

However, including pay details in a job advert can have some negative repercussions for employers.

“When salaries are included within job descriptions, they can show that the company is not paying over and above the median, and therefore the value they attribute to the role,” Bevington says.

READ MORE: How to talk about CV gaps with an employer

“This may have a negative impact on existing staff who may have applied for the role, as the information is now in the public domain. In addition, posting salaries publicly may reveal to existing staff that they themselves are underpaid compared with new joiners.”

Another downside is that applicants could potentially focus on the salary offered and disregard any other benefits of working for the company. If they’re drawn in by the pay, they may be blind to a company’s culture not being a good fit for them. Most companies will want an ewagmployee who fits in well and isn’t taking the job for the money alone.

“Finally, including a salary in a job description does reduce the negotiating power of both the employer and the employee,” Bevington says. “For example, it’s possible a candidate would have taken the role at a lower salary if one hadn’t been initially listed.”

Agreeing a financial package when taking a new job can be complicated. If you think the salary offered by an employer isn’t right, you can check using online salary comparison tools.