This article was published on November 12, 2021

Stop adding ‘competitive salary’ to job listings — tell me your range already

Show me the money

Stop adding ‘competitive salary’ to job listings — tell me your range already
Rebecca OKeeffe
Story by

Rebecca OKeeffe

What is the worst part about searching for a new role? Writing CVs, dealing with pushy recruiters, or preparing for those daunting Zoom interviews?

For me, it’s figuring out which roles to apply for. You have to ask yourself a lot of questions. Do I like this company? Do I believe in their mission? Would I be a good fit for this role?

Evaluating a job spec is even more difficult when the salary is nowhere to be found, or worse still, it’s simply listed as ‘competitive’.

Recently I found myself asking what exactly does competitive mean? Will a competitive salary cover my mortgage repayments, buy my weekly groceries, or allow me to go on an annual holiday?

Unfortunately, when no salary range is posted on a job spec, there’s no way of knowing the answer to these questions. Applicants are left in the dark, blindly applying, interviewing, and preparing for a job that could be completely unsuitable for their needs or experience.

In today’s tech job market, a ‘competitive’ salary simply doesn’t cut it, and here’s why.

The landscape has changed

Let’s face it, we’re in the midst of a hiring boom at the moment. The pandemic made a lot of people reevaluate what they want from their career. ‘The Great Resignation’ means that talent is in short supply. As a result, employers need to stand out from the crowd if they want to get the best new hires.

According to the 2020 Compensation Best Practices Report by Payscale, one of the major reasons why employees leave companies is for a higher salary. When this salary isn’t clearly advertised, there’s no incentive to even apply for open roles. In a nutshell, not advertising a clear salary means employers get less qualified applicants.

It contributes to the gender pay gap

Mysterious salaries also contribute to wider problems in society such as the gender pay gap.

The 2020 State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace report found that 65% of the time a woman’s salary expectation is lower than a man’s when applying to the same job at the same company.

By not including a salary band on a job spec, women are trapped in a vicious cycle of being asked their salary expectations rather than being told what the role is worth.

How can they determine their market value when no job description tells them the expected salary?

It’s a millennial market

Millennials, (those born between about 1980 and 2000) are forecast to comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025. As a generation. We’re a lot more open to talking about money than our predecessors.

In Jennifer Deal’s book ‘What Millennials Want From Work’, she found that Millennials are more likely to discuss their salary with their parents (71%) or their friends (47%). In comparison, older staff are substantially less likely to discuss their compensation with co-workers (19%), friends (24%) or parents (31%).

As the views of the labor force change and evolve over time, hiring managers will need to keep up with demands for transparency.

A mission will only get you so far

Historically, companies have taken salary ranges off of job specs as they believe it will help them attract talent that is passionate about their company, not just the pay cheque. In 2021, this idea is completely dated.

Sure, we’d all like to work for a cool social enterprise or eco-friendly brand but according to SHRM, when looking at a job posting, compensation and benefits are still the primary things that most candidates are looking for.

While most founders would hate to admit it, people want jobs so they can afford to live a nice life. Compensation is a motivating factor and one that shouldn’t be easily ignored.

It’s time for tech to change

The tech industry is a pioneer in so many ways. It promoted remote working before it was government-mandated. It championed AI before it was mainstream. It raved about employee perks right from the start. So, why does our sector continue to keep employees in the dark when applying for jobs?

Hopefully recruiters and HR specialists will start to listen to employees going forward. The only thing that should be ‘competitive’ during the hiring process is the interview rounds.

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