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Salary info neglected in job adverts

An acceptable salary/wage is one of the critical factors for individuals considering a move to a new job. An analysis of Innovantage data for the first half of 2013 however showed that employers placing job ads online themselves omitted salary or wage details from 56% of their adverts. This figure is four percentage points up on practices recorded a year earlier, showing that businesses are increasingly omitting this information from job ads.

Recruitment agencies are more likely to include salary details in their job ads than employers posting recruitment adverts directly. Only 32% of job ads from recruitment agencies advertising on behalf of hirers omit salary details. Recruiters are less comfortable advertising roles without these details - their general belief being that the more information that can be provided, the wider the pool they can draw from.

In the 2012 UK Candidate Experience Awards 60% of candidates expressed their frustration that, having gone all the way through the recruitment process, they reached a yes/no determinant at the final stage that would have stopped them from applying in the first place had they or their prospective employers known this piece of information.  Many would agree that the main motivation for working is the salary however this seems to be the neglected piece of the puzzle when it comes to recruitment practices.

Each month, Innovantage tracks the job postings across 150 job boards and over half a million corporate web sites. The resulting database of 100 million advertised opportunities, charted over five years, is the most comprehensive aggregation of the intricate details of the UK labour market demand in existence.

Innovantage noted a 123% rise in job ads placed directly by employers in 2013 and can highlight a number of trends in various market sectors when it comes to salary information. Against the general trend, the smaller hotels/motels sector has become more transparent in featuring salary details in job ads – potentially as a result of tougher competition for local labour. In 2011, 7% of all vacancies in this sector omitted salary details, but in the first half of 2013, salary details were omitted from just one fifth of this former figure. Likewise, non-specialist retail has almost eliminated this practice and includes salary details in almost all job ads.

Certain aspects of the public sector are increasingly omitting salary information from recruitment ads - notably general secondary education. The majority of Secondary schools in England are now autonomous Academies with the same employment freedoms as Private and Free schools. This new arrangement removes the strict legal requirement for complete wage transparency in a sector where all teachers were historically paid to scale. Job ads omitting salary details in the Secondary schools sector across the UK have multiplied fourteen fold since 2011. 

Whilst trends in behaviours are clearly evident in Innovantage data, it is important to consider the impact of such behaviours. Mark Stephens, CEO of on-line recruitment platform Smart Recruit Online disclosed results of trials that they had run testing the advertisement of the same job title in the same location with and without salary. He said: “Those with salary details included always resulted in excess of 30% more applicants. Furthermore, our samples suggest that it is likely to be higher quality candidates who chose not to apply without this visibility. Invariably they are already in work and, as such, they are reluctant to apply when they have no clear indication that the role will meet their salary requirements.”

Matthew Dewstowe, Founder of Innovantage said: “The implications of omitting salary information from recruitment ads can be seen in three key areas- the effect it has on the volume and quality of applications, the subsequent duration that advertisers need to keep an advert open and/or the instances in the need to re-advertise the post.

“Innovantage is working on a major piece of research to qualify these impacts. Anecdotal feedback from elsewhere in the industry however can illustrate the potential effects of omitting salary details from job ads. Stephen Barnhurst, Sales Director at Broadbean, says that, even allowing for a wide number of variables that prevents you from comparing one ad response to another, they can see clear evidence of the impact that advertising a job without a salary has on response rates. Broadbean estimates a reduction in applications of between 25-40%. Matt Keam at Jobsite believes that drop off rates are between 25-35% for advertisers choosing to omit a salary.

“Ultimately, the decision to include details of salary or wage rate – or not - is at the individual hirer’s discretion,” Dewstowe notes. “It has always astounded me however, that for all of the sophistication that now goes into pushing new opportunities a person’s way – in the most part to people who aren’t looking to apply for work – the one basic piece of information that most normal people want to know, i.e. how much could I earn,  is so often missing.

“The value of businesses examining big data sets is that they can learn from others’ experiences and fine-tune their recruitment strategy. This fine tuning can help people make decisions about how they position their job ads - by region, by salary or wage band, by contract type and even based on competition for skills at various times of the year.

“The return on a small amount of analytical time invested can be considerable – reduced advertising spend, improved quality of applications and, ultimately, an improved quality of hire.”

Fig.1 Proportion of jobs ads posted by the hirer with no salary/wage rate information

2011

2012

To end June 2013

All jobs directly advertised by hirers across the UK

2,875,759

2,861,329

3,183,616

Adverts omitting salary / wage rate

1,565,487

1,480,664

1,790,257

% of adverts omitting salary / wage rate

54%

52%

56%

Fig.2 Key sector trends amongst directly advertised job ads

Sector

2011

2012

2013 pro rata (based on H1 data)

Hotels & Motels (without restaurants)

105,114

 15,632

18,522

Retail - non specialist stores

56,266

9,778

6,832

General secondary education

5,079

5,022

71,110

General Public Services Activities

10,637

12,663

78,844

Fig.3 Proportion of jobs ads posted by recruitment agencies/businesses with no salary/wage rate information

2011

2012

To end June 2013

All jobs advertised by recruitment agencies

19,731,269

18,165,306

12,408,176

Adverts omitting salary / wage rate

5,483,944

4,680,779

3,920,908

% of adverts omitting salary / wage rate

28%

26%

32%

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