Majority of candidates less likely to apply for roles that don’t specify salary, research finds

Poll also reveals almost half of managers admit to leaving pay details out of adverts despite including them leading to more high-quality applicants and saving recruiters time

Four in five jobseekers say they are less likely to apply for a job if the advert doesn’t specify a salary, research has revealed, leading to calls for better transparency over pay during the recruitment process.

The poll, conducted by recruitment site Reed, found that 78 per cent of people looking for a job would be put off applying if the salary was not displayed.

The survey, which asked 2,250 employees and hiring managers about salary transparency and how it is affecting labour shortages, also revealed that more than one in five (22 per cent) employees exclusively apply for roles that specify a salary. 

Yet more than two in five (44 per cent) managers admitted to not including a salary as part of job descriptions every time they advertised a role. 

The findings follow a government announcement this week launching a pilot project to increase pay transparency in order to ‘level’ up opportunities for working women, which will require employers to list salary information on their job adverts and stop asking candidates about their salary history. 

Commenting on the findings, Simon Wingate, managing director of Reed, said: “You wouldn’t shop in a supermarket that doesn’t list its prices, so why should we expect people to sift through job ads that don’t advertise salary? 

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“From our research, it’s clear that jobseekers want to apply for roles at businesses that are open about what they pay”, he said. 

The poll also found that three in five (62 per cent) hiring managers thought a lack of salary transparency had no negative impact on applications. This was despite separate analysis of jobs adverts on revealing that those showing salary details attracted 27 per cent more applications than those without.  

Additionally, more than two in five (42 per cent) hiring managers reported that providing salary details delivered more applications, while a similar proportion (38 per cent) believed it delivered greater relevancy of applications, and a third (35 per cent) felt it saved time in the recruitment process. 

Wingate urged businesses to always display salary ranges on their job adverts, adding: “Not only will you generate more applications, you’ll also be able to attract from a wider talent pool and avoid any negative impact to your employer brand.”

Charles Cotton, senior reward and performance adviser at the CIPD, also observed that employers needed to be more transparent about pay when it came to attracting the right talent: “Doing so will not only help set reward expectations among job applicants and reduce the risk of unfair pay gaps, but also encourage a greater diversity of people to apply,” he explained. 

Cotton also called for employers to go further and give information on pension schemes and other core benefits as well as pay in their job ads. 

Kate Shoesmith, deputy CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), said: “This research clearly shows that by not including salary information in a job advert, recruiters and employers alike are shooting themselves in the foot.

“Advertising a role with a salary range means breaking the cycle of lower earnings among women and people from disadvantaged backgrounds, as it avoids basing their earnings on previous salaries and focuses more on the value of the role,” she explained. 

And Gemma Bullivant, an independent HR and reward consultant, added: “Pay transparency is a crucial component of the reward strategy and architecture of an organisation and something that is often overlooked or considered too hard to tackle. 

“With the right architecture in place you can attract more talent to your pipeline as this survey suggests, streamline recruitment processes, establish clear pathways to grow and retain key talent and make robust and equitable pay decisions to ensure any pay inequities are resolved,” she said.