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Salary information in job postings: it’s important!

Salary information in job postingsFor years, job boards have pushed employers to include salary information in job postings. Why? Research has shown that adding a salary (or salary range) to a posting will increase the job seeker response – and often, the quality of response as well. Employers have been…resistant.

But the times, they are a-changin’.

First, Google’s job schema included a slot for salary – and the company said over and over that it looked more favorably on those job ads that actually filled out that slot with salary information.  And if that wasn’t enough incentive, Google also added an estimated salary range for each job it included in its blue search box. In other words, Google has been prodding employers to ‘do the right thing’ since the introduction of their Google Jobs schema. I guess you can say that Google is using a carrot.

Still, employers – particularly in the U.S. – resisted. ‘We’ll cause problems with existing employees that discover new hires are making more,’ they said. ‘It puts us at a disadvantage with other employers who have to offer more because of their geography, which drives a higher cost of living’, they said. And so on.

Well…in July, Indeed – flexing its might as only Indeed can – told large employers that they must include salary information in their postings, or that Indeed would include salary estimates with their jobs (whether or not those matched up with what the employer ultimately pays). I guess this means that Indeed is using a stick.

Now, there are other things afoot in the job ad salary information discussion. Several states – including Colorado and California – have mandated that salary information must be included on some or all job postings. The American Alliance of Museums has announced that, starting November 15, they’ll require concrete salary ranges for every job posted on their JobHQ board, which lists hundreds of museum openings. In fact, at least 14 states have laws that prohibit employers from asking job candidates their salary history. And trust me, this is only the beginning.

So first of all, I take my hat off to both Google and Indeed (I know, it’s rare I complement the Borg, but…): they are leading the way to improved salary information disclosure across the board. Not only does this information help the job seeker make an intelligent decision, it also helps deter the wage gap problem that has long existed between male and female job seekers, as well as white and non-white job seekers. After all, pay is one of the most fundamental ways that an employer can contribute to discrimination – and it is also one of the most fundamental ways that an employer can fight discrimination. Let’s be realistic, though: without the power and leadership of these two industry giants, salary information might still be locked away for most job seekers.

How about you, the average, non-Indeed job board owner or operator? What should you expect going forward, and what should you do?

First of all, make it easy for employers to include salary information in job postings: either a specific number, or a range. No matter if they’re posting a single job ad or feeding you a thousand ads, give them a place to include the salary information.  Second, assume that this will be a requirement for your site soon. Get ahead of the game by providing salary ranges for all jobs posted on your site. Finally, educate your employers! Particularly with smaller employers, they may be leaving this information out because they simply don’t know better. Communicate the value of including salary information, both in terms of response quantity and quality.

Salary information on job ads is a win/win for job seekers, employers, and job boards. Let’s do it!

Note: This post from 2022 is still relevant – even more so – today. The Doctor is taking some time off, celebrating the memory of his wife. Back soon.

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