Why Wouldn’t You Include Salary in Job Descriptions?

In yesterday’s Advisor, we examined some of the pros of including salary information in your job descriptions. However, there is a second side to that story, which we will look at today.

Listing a Salary in a Job Posting: The Cons

Without discounting the benefits above, we also need to take a look at the potential pitfalls that may come with publicly listing a salary on a job posting. Here are a few:

  • It allows your competitors to see how much you’re paying.
  • It means there is less negotiating on the back end. As noted above, this is both a pro and a con. It’s a con because it means the employer has less room to adjust the salary for an applicant who may warrant a different level based on experience. This can be partially remedied by listing a pay range and noting that the exact amount depends on experience level.
  • It may mean you get fewer applicants. Also, as noted above, this is a pro and a con. It’s a con because applicants may self-select out of the application process if they feel the salary is too low—and the employer will not have the chance to offer more to someone who never applies.
  • Alternately, it may also result in more unqualified applicants if the salary is quite high. This happens simply because people are hopeful to get the higher pay, even if they’re not as qualified as the job requires. These individuals may not have been tempted to apply (knowing they’re unqualified) before knowing the pay.
  • It may cause current employees to expect salary increases sooner if they see current job postings at higher amounts. This could be especially problematic if the current employee does not recognize the differences between the roles that may explain a reasonable difference in salary. This could cause frustration among current employees.

What’s your take? Does your organization opt to keep salary information private until it is discussed with the applicant who is selected for the job? Or do you regularly list a salary range with every job post?