As a recruiter, you’ve likely spent countless hours perfecting your company’s job postings, rephrasing, updating, and ensuring that each looks professional and attractive. However, there’s one area on the job board that tends to raise questions and concerns: salary range.
Should salary ranges be disclosed in job listings? Will posting a salary range result in fewer qualified applicants?
Let’s answer these questions and more. We’ll start by sharing the laws that surround job postings and the information that must be disclosed. Then, we’ll go over the pros and cons of posting salary ranges and tips for doing so with tact.
Laws about posting salary ranges
Believe it or not, most states have laws in place surrounding job listings and the information they need to include. This also applies to salary ranges, and new laws are being approved every day.
Are you familiar with the laws in your state?
While most states still haven’t passed pay transparency laws, some have recently jumped on the bandwagon. Some cities have even started creating their own laws while they wait for their state governments to catch up.
States and cities that have passed their own transparency laws
- California: The California Equal Pay Act bans employers from asking applicants about their salary history. It also requires an employer to disclose the pay range for a job (after the initial interview) if the applicant asks. This law has been in place since 2018.
- Colorado: The Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act requires employers to disclose the pay range and benefits for every job posting. This law has been in place since 2021.
- Connecticut: The Connecticut Labor Statute requires employers to provide the salary range for a job if an applicant asks for it, or if an employer extends an offer for employment. This law has been in place since 2021.
- Maryland: The Maryland Equal Pay for Equal Work Law requires employers to disclose the pay range if and when an applicant asks about it. It also bans employers from asking about an applicant’s salary history. This law has been in place since 2020.
- Nevada: Nevada’s Senate Bill 293 requires employers to automatically disclose the salary range to an applicant after the initial interview, even if they don’t ask for it. This act was passed in late 2021.
- New York City: The New York City Human Rights Law requires employers within NYC to list the minimum and maximum salary on each job posting. This law was passed in 2022.
- Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Equal Pay Law, which will go into effect in 2023, requires employers to provide pay ranges when asked by an applicant.
- Toledo, Ohio: Under the Toledo Pay Equity Act, employers must disclose the pay range for a job after an offer has been made, and if an applicant asks about it. This act was passed in 2020.
- Washington: The Washington Equal Pay and Opportunities Act says that employers must provide a pay range for a position after an offer has been made and if an applicant asks for it. It was passed in 2019.
Three reasons companies don’t post salary ranges
States are beginning to step in with salary transparency laws because the workforce is demanding it. Research shows that compensation is one of the first things job seekers look at when deciding whether to apply for a position or not. In fact, job postings that do disclose salary ranges tend to receive more attention and interest than those that don’t.
Why have companies historically resisted disclosing pay? There are three main reasons employers don’t reveal salary ranges.
1. The employer is hiding pay from competitors
Some companies, especially those in highly competitive industries, might be concerned about potential competitors. By revealing the starting pay in a job listing where anyone can see it, a competitor might have a leg up when it comes to advertising for their own job openings.
2. The employer wants to hide pay from current employees
Another common reason employers might choose not to disclose salary ranges is to prevent their current employees from discovering what new hires will be earning (in comparison to their own pay). Conflict could arise if the employer isn’t paying their employees’ similar dollars.
3. The employer is trying to lowball applicants
Unfortunately, employers may simply be looking to take advantage of applicants and new hires. By withholding salary ranges, especially until the end of the hiring process, employers have a better opportunity to lowball applicants and reduce the potential for pay negotiation.
The benefits of posting salary ranges in recruiting
For the sake of transparency and trust, it’s more effective to reveal a pay range before ever interviewing an applicant. In the end, your organization benefits by prioritizing honesty. Both sides see the expectations and the applicant understands what they’re getting into.
Some of the greatest advantages that come from sharing salary ranges include:
Time is saved
Instead of weeding through applicants who aren’t interested in the pay you’re offering, try disclosing the pay from the get-go. This can help streamline negotiations later in the hiring process and will provide you with applicants who are already happy with the compensation being offered. You might even yield a larger number of qualified applicants, especially if the offer aligns with industry standards.
Trust is built
There’s a much higher level of trust between you and the applicant when fair pay is prioritized. Rather than playing hardball or worrying about difficult negotiations, be transparent with pay so there’s a feeling of openness.
Recommendations for recruiting successfully
Publicizing salary ranges might leave you feeling overwhelmed or worried. But trust and transparency will bring happy employees. Try these ideas for better hiring success:
- Post salary ranges for every job: Don’t only share salary ranges for entry-level positions. Instead, be transparent all the way to the top. Provide ranges for every position.
- Make salary ranges realistic: Will you truly hire someone at the very top of the salary range? Or do you intend to offer something close to the low end of the range? Make sure that the salary ranges you disclose are realistic. Don’t just use a higher number to bait applicants.
- Provide clear guidelines: What are the skills and experience required for scoring pay at the very top of the salary range? Clearly define that.
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