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Recruitment and HR Blog

Competition for talent is fierce – here's why it’s more important than ever to put salaries on job adverts

8th November 2021

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According to figures from The Office for National Statistics the number of job vacancies in July to September 2021 hit a record high of 1,102,000. And it’s still rising – October saw 2.29 million active job postings in its first full week.

This candidate-led market is inevitably going to continue having a major impact on salaries. And they’ve already been increasing for a while; the ONS reported a 7.4% increase in salaries between April 2020 and April 2021. And more recent figures revealed a growth in average total pay (including bonuses) of 7.2% for the three months from June to August 2021.

While some of this growth has been attributed to temporary factors, salaries are still rising. It’s not just affecting those sectors highlighted in the news as struggling with shortages either, like logistics or hospitality. It’s across the board. At the same time, with taxes and inflation rising, income’s firmly in the spotlight for many households too. This all has big implications for recruitment. Are your salaries competitive enough to attract good candidates? And just how open should you be about them when you’re advertising your vacancies? 

Think about the whole package

Candidates are looking out for opportunities that offer competitive salaries so how well do yours compare? You might assess them in relation to other positions in your company fairly regularly. But it’s also important to review them against local benchmarks and within your sector to make sure what you’re offering is likely to attract the kind of candidates you want.

Even if your salaries are competitive, be mindful of the impact of other factors as well. To attract the best, you’ll need to regularly check whether you can do more to improve on the whole package that’s on offer. Rather than office-based perks like social space, pool tables and free snacks, employees are increasingly valuing things like training opportunities, progression, and flexibility.

As our client Moneypenny highlighted when commenting on research it carried out this year, perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind is that different candidates will value different things – so some flexibility in terms of what you can offer could put you in a stronger position. 

Should you mention the salary in your job adverts?

The question of whether it’s wise to disclose salaries in job adverts can generate some debate. Some employers are concerned it might cause problems with existing employees or limit negotiations with candidates further down the line. Some believe not being able to offer a huge salary will work to their disadvantage. Others argue it gives competitors an idea of pay rates, which they can use to their advantage.

But based on our experience, the benefits of mentioning the salary outweigh these concerns and here are the reasons why.

  • It increases the number of suitable applicants

The simple fact is that salary is one of the first things a jobseeker will notice. At this stage, they probably won’t know a great deal about your company, so they’ll be making an immediate judgement about the suitability of the role based on where the salary is pitched. You might find the ideal solution is to share a salary range. 

Did you know?

  • It’s estimated that adverts with a range get around 30% more applicants
  • Two out of three jobseekers are more likely to apply for roles that include salary information

  • Candidates are unlikely to move for the same (or lower!) salary

It’s very rare that candidates would leave a job to go to a new one with the same or lower salary. It could happen if they were very unhappy in their current role or were looking for a complete change of career. But for most candidates, part of the motivation behind looking for a new role is to earn more.        

  • Millennials expect transparency

Millennials anyone born between 1981 and 1996 want to know what they are going to be paid when they’re considering applying for roles. This generation has a greater willingness to discuss what they’re paid with parents and friends, compared to previous generations. 

Given that some estimates suggest this generation will make up to 75% of the workforce within the next 5 to 10 years, it’ll become increasingly important that this openness is reflected in the recruitment process.

  • It avoids wasted time

As the recruiting employer you won’t want to lose time interviewing candidates if the salary turns out to be a deal breaker. Candidates’ time is important too and they will be cautious about taking time off work to attend interviews if they have no idea what the salary could be.

Yes, you might lose some candidates at the start of the process if the salary is either too low or too big a leap, but that’s better than leaving salary discussions until the face-to-face interview stage, where you will end up losing the candidate anyway.

There can be exceptional reasons why you simply cannot put the salary onto a job advert and that’s fair enough. But in most cases, including a salary will enable you to attract more great quality candidates, manage expectations effectively from the very start and help you come across as an open and transparent employer.

Do you want your job adverts to stand out to great candidates?

If you’d like to find out how our recruitment marketing expertise can be used to make sure your job adverts catch the eye of your ideal applicants then please do get in touch with us.

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