Why Don't All Job Postings Include Salary Information?
It takes a lot of time to fill out applications online and then tailor each cover letter to a specific job description. Finding a job sometimes is a fulltime job in and of itself. And without much knowledge ehead of time about the salary of the job you're applying for, it can be an effort that’s wasted when you find out that the job you just spent so much time and attention applying for isn’t going to pay your bills.
So why do employers routinely post jobs without including compensation details?
There are a couple of theories about this, but it’s possible the trend may be shifting. In the recent past, when we were in the throes of the last recession, employers didn’t really have to do much to get tons of applications for any openings. People needed work.
It’s possible that the company you’re hoping to work for may just be fishing around in the market to see what skills and experience they can attract, and then will come up with what they’re willing to pay. But, that’s unlikely. Most companies have a budget for a new hire, before they even list the job. They just don’t want to share it with you, because it puts them in a better bargaining position.
It’s also possible that they don’t want to tip their hands to the competition by letting them know what they’re willing to pay for a position at your hotel or restaurant. Who knows… maybe the competition will steal away valuable employees with the promise of better pay.
Maybe it’s because they’ve always done it that way. Well, it may be time to wake up and move on with the times. Millennials (who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030) value open discussion and transparency. Most companies will need to evolve new ways to attract them going forward.
Some companies don’t like to post a salary range because they assume all candidates will want to be at the top of the range, when in fact, most candidates will be hired in the middle of that range. That’s what the company really wants. So, in order to avoid any awkwardness, they don’t post the range at all.
It’s also possible that companies don’t want their current employees to be aware of what new hires are being paid, which may cause conflict in the workplace.
By not posting the salary range, they can base their offer on what you were making in your last job. If they find a great candidate (you) and discover they can give a slight raise over what you previously made and save some money (since it’s below what they were originally willing to offer), it’s a bargain for the company. They assume you’re happy because you’re making more money and they’re happy because they’re saving some money.
What should you do?
- First of all, you should do as much homework about a position, role, level, or company to get an idea of the "industry standard" to get as much of an idea about salary while you're applying. Do some research to determine what is typically paid in your area for the job you want. There are plenty of online sites (like salary.com and payscale.com) where you can check and you can ask around as well. Once you feel confident about what the market pays in your location, you’ll feel able to discuss salary expectations.
- When you’re asked what you made in your last job, consider answering by saying that you’re seeking “$15/hour” (or whatever it is for you) as a salary target instead of telling them what you were making in your previous job.
- Get comfortable with talking about salary and negotiating for a higher pay (both before you have the job and throughout your career).
- Be open to negotiating and willing to compromise, but never sell yourself short. Be firm about the minimum salary you can take and understand the timing of future raises and reviews.
Change is coming.
Transparency about pay is becoming an important issue as it relates to gender equality and discrimination. Some people may come from a culture where aggressive negotiation is not the norm. They may feel bullied and pressured to accept a lower income than someone who is fine with a more open negotiation.
Not posting a salary may also be driving away strong candidates who are not willing to apply unless they know what the pay scale is. Strong candidates do not have to waste time pursuing openings where the compensation is unknown.
Some applicants feel that not posting a salary range up front starts the relationship off with a lack of trust. If you accept a job based on what you made in the past, will you feel bitter or resentful later? Maybe they would have paid more if they were open about the salary range.
Finally, some employers will likely benefit by letting candidates self-select if it makes sense to apply or not. It will cut down on the applicants that won’t accept the job and provide a better match because the candidate knows exactly what the job offers.