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Why companies don’t post salaries in job advertisements

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As you are scrolling through LinkedIn, you come across a promising job advertisement. The description is inspiring, the team members look compatible, and you meet most of the requirements for the role. When you come to the section about salary expectations, instead of an actual number, you find sentences like “depending on experience” or simply “competitive”.

What do these words mean anyway? And why don’t companies just list the salary in advance?

“In traditional corporate environments, salary is often hidden because it is a game of cat and mouse to find out what salary the candidate is currently on, what they are expecting and what the company is willing to pay,” explains Tom Harmsworth, the UK Managing Director of real estate technology company WeMaintain, which operates in the UK, France and Singapore.

But this lack of disclosure harms workers. Knowing the expected salary in advance can help the candidate see if a position is financially viable for them. It also streamlines conversations later in the hiring process. This is in line with data from a 2018 LinkedIn survey in which the overwhelming majority of respondents (61%) said compensation was the most important part of the job description. A Glassdoor study showed similar results, with salary (67%) being the most important factor job seekers look for in advertisements.

However, many employers omit compensation information from their advertisements, often for fear of putting them at a competitive disadvantage or causing displeasure among existing employees.

Yet there is a growing global movement that is making salary transparency not just a new norm, but rather the law. This is because more research shows that wage-promising companies can attract better and more diverse talent, making salary transparency a viable way to create a fairer job.

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