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Should Job Postings Include Salary Information?

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

Disclosing Salary Can be Tricky


In 2018, LinkedIn surveyed 450 of its members to determine

what they look for in a job description.

Respondents were asked to highlight sections of a particular job description that they found appealing and which were most likely to motivate them to apply.

LinkedIn was surprised to learn that salary range was “far and away” the most highlighted section of the job description. As the preeminent social media site for career advancement, one has to wonder why they were surprised by these findings.

Employers’ Edge

Not knowing the salary range for a particular job places applicants at a distinct disadvantage. After all, when it comes to negotiating with a prospective employer, most of us stink. (More on this later.) Setting a predetermined salary range alleviates this dilemma. So why don’t more companies include salary information in their job postings? A number of reasons:

More Candidates

Some companies want to receive a lot of resumes in answer to a job posting. Those that aren't a good fit for the current availability can be saved in the firm’s applicant tracking system for future positions.

Less Employee Friction

In an ideal world, all employees doing the same job would earn the same starting salary. But realistically, each staff member brings individual skills and experiences to a job. These skills and experiences make the employee more or less valuable in terms of salary.

When current employees can easily access salary information for new hires, the result is often resentment and unrest within the company. Employees who previously loved their jobs could become disgruntled and choose to leave (or their performance could suffer). So to avoid this type of competition between current and new employees, companies prefer to exclude salary information from job postings.

Exposure to Competitors

Employers often believe that advertising their compensation packages makes them vulnerable to their competitors. Rival organizations could use salary information to lure candidates away by offering more money or benefits. Armed with enough compensation data, competitors could also potentially target high-performing senior staff members.

Options for Job Seekers

So what’s a job seeker to do if salary information is not disclosed upfront? Here are a few tips:

Knowledge Is Power

Start by learning everything you can about salary ranges and benefits for the position you’re seeking within a given industry. These will vary by company size and location. If you’re interested in a particular company, you’ll want to check out the firm’s website. But also the following online resources:

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The Art of the Deal

Though it may feel awkward, learn how to negotiate a salary. The internet is loaded with tips on how to effectively negotiate with a prospective employer. They all basically come down to this: Know your own value, know your budget baseline, know your market research. Then, clearly communicate this information to the employer.

Tongue tied? Here are the exact words to say when negotiating salary with an employer.

Get It in Writing

Once a fair salary has been negotiated and you’ve accepted a position, ask your new employer to provide the agreed-upon salary and benefits in writing. This will eliminate any possible misunderstandings, as well as providing you with a paper trail.

Options for Employers

There is a growing movement to make salary discussions more transparent in the interest of fairness and wage equity – and to attract more applicants. (See sidebar, “Salary Disclosure by the Numbers.”)

Some employers choose to disclose salary range. The downside to this is that most candidates will focus in on the higher number and may feel cheated if it isn’t offered. Perhaps a better option would be to disclose the starting base salary.

This helps potential candidates determine if the compensation meets their expectations and whether they want to apply for the job. As the LinkedIn survey proved, candidates need to know if the application process is worth the investment of their time and effort.

By disclosing the base salary, you probably won’t attract as many applicants as you would by excluding salary information altogether. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing: It should help weed out applicants who expect much higher compensation.


Sources: Forbes


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