<i>Dear Workforce</i> Should We Disclose Salary Ranges When Posting Job Ads

October 9, 2008
Dear Betwixt and Between:

Depending on whom you ask, you will get different responses regarding the pros and cons of posting the salary scale in recruitment advertisements. Some people will be headstrong on the advantages of posting, while others will be equally headstrong on the disadvantages. Ultimately, it comes down to the position being advertised, your organization's culture and past history.

Beyond this short answer, let's dive into some more detail to help illuminate the pros and cons.

It Ensures Potential Candidates Know the Job Salary.
Since people conduct job searches using salary, having the salary posted is helpful. It can ensure the candidate readily knows whether the position falls within their salary range. From there, they can decide if they wish to apply for the position.

It Makes Sense to Post Salary for Some Positions.
These positions tend to be in entry-level, warehouse, operations and administrative. It is OK to post because most people have a general sense what these positions pay.

There are many ways to find out a salary.
A click of a keyboard mouse yields insights on salaries by job type, industry and geographic area. Also, organizations have benchmarking data within their industry that gives them insights on pay scales. Viewed through this lens, one might argue that it is OK to post salary because people have access to that information anyway.

It may turn off some candidates from applying for a position when they otherwise might have done so.
There likely are high-caliber candidates who never apply because they feel the salary you offer is below their acceptable pay range. As a result, your organization could miss opportunities to hire top-notch people.

Posting a set salary or even a range could hinder the flexibility associated with salary negotiations.
Perhaps your organization is willing to pay extra to capture a highly qualified candidate. Disclosing the salary may torpedo any hiring discussion before it begins.

Competitors may or may not know what you pay your employees.
Posting salary guarantees your competitors will learn how much you pay for some positions. Since pay often is a source of competitive advantage, you should guard this information closely.

Salaries may not be known within the organization.
Follow the bouncing ball. Joe or Jane employee wakes up to look at the Sunday paper. In the paper, they see a position like theirs being advertised for $10,000 more than they make. This could result in a disengaged employee who suddenly doesn't feel valued.

Posting salaries for job ads can be tricky. Following these guidelines should enable your organization to enhance its strategic focus on acquiring new talent.

SOURCE: Dana E. Jarvis, adjunct professor, John F. Donahue Graduate School of Business and School of Leadership and Professional Advancement, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, August 6, 2008

LEARN MORE: Sharing salary information among your workforce is another thorny issue.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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