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Why advertise a job without a salary?

Hands with computer tablet reading job ads in front of crowd of people.
Most Australian job seekers want to see salary guidlines on job advertisements (Source: Getty)

Employers are increasingly omitting salary details from job ads and, as a result, may be missing out on the best applicants, according to a recent survey by leading global hiring platform Indeed.

With the current unemployment rate of 4.2 per cent creating a shortage of available workers in many industries, Australian businesses are scrambling to attract the skills they need to grow.

And it's not going to get much better in the short term according to the latest guidance from the Reserve Bank (RBA).

"[The] unemployment rate is forecast to decline gradually over the forecast period, to 3.75 per cent by the end of 2023,” said the RBA in its most recent economic outlook statement released in February.

Given the dwindling pool of available resources in the job market, vacancies are proving harder to fill for many employers. Which makes the findings of Indeed's recent survey even more surprising.

A disconnect with job seekers?

According to the survey of more than 2,000 working Australians, “65 per cent of job seekers say a role’s salary is important to include in a job ad". Yet according to the same survey, “Only 9 per cent of employers will always advertise a role with a salary” included.

Why the disconnect?

Indeed’s Kate Furey told Yahoo Finance there were a number of possible reasons.

“Our survey findings may reflect that employers want to appeal to applicants who are attracted to the role and the company, rather than those focused primarily on salary,” Furey said.

It’s understandable employers are wary of applicants only applying for a role to achieve a rise in salary.

The reason many firms give for this is that if remuneration is the sole driver of an employee, they are more likely to leave in future when another organisation offers them more again.

Transparency builds trust

However, other applicants may be dissuaded from applying if no salary is listed, particularly in the candidate-short market Australia is currently in the grip of.

Furey agrees, suggesting that, “Being upfront about remuneration can work in everyone's favour - greater transparency engenders confidence and trust from candidates and helps avoid surprise rejections when an offer is made”.

A man shakes hands with a woman across a desk.
Employers may prefer to give salary details out at the interview stage (Source: Getty)

In defence of employers, most of those who choose not to disclose remuneration on a job advertisement will disclose it at the interview stage, so the latter point about surprise rejections may be a moot one.

However, the comments on how transparency can build trust certainly resonate, and organisations should consider this going forward.

Are there any other reasons employers might not want to include salaries on their job ads?

One possibility is that displaying salaries for new hires may create issues with existing employees, especially if the renumeration offered is higher than what these employees are currently earning.

The last thing employers will want to do is create reasons for valuable existing employees to leave, especially if the war for talent is expected to intensify.

However, although the interview stage may be the safest option for employers to disclose pay details, in the current job market this option runs the risk of not attracting the required calibre of applicant in the first place.

Change in approach

Employers must tread a fine line in the current climate, but it appears inevitable that companies will be reviewing their strategies on how to attract new hires.

“If the last 18 months have demonstrated anything, it's that the way we work is changing, so it follows that how job advertisements are structured can, and should, also evolve,” Furey said.

As with most things in the past two years, the pandemic has driven a lot of the change.

How employers navigate this change will go a long way to determining how successful they will be attracting the right candidates to apply for their advertised role.

Maybe it’s time for a rethink on advertising salaries after all.

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