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Strong brands lead to lower salary requests from job candidates, study finds

Companies with positive online employee reviews resulted in lower salary demands during the application process, a recently published academic study has found. The report shows that employees would seek pay rises of between 35-40% to work at these employers, as opposed to companies with negative reviews at 55-60%.

The study, developed by University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Spain looked at whether online employee reviews influence job seekers’ opinions of an employer, and finds that they do. In addition, the study uncovers how positive versus negative employee reviews can impact the quantity of job applicants an employer receives, salary requirements that candidates request, along with other job seeker behaviors and sentiments that can impact an organization’s recruiting efficiency.

One of the key findings from the study, which conducted its research using Glassdoor, confirms that online employee reviews matter to job seekers. The study’s research concludes that workers view online reviews by employees as a reliable source of information, and that they form opinions and intentions to apply for jobs based on those reviews. In fact, participants said they are more interested to send their resume to a company after seeing a positive review versus a neutral or negative review. The study indicates that since job seekers are influenced by online employee reviews, companies concerned with attracting and retaining quality employees should pay attention to and engage with online reviews.

In addition to how online employee reviews influence people applying to jobs, the study also finds reviews carry salary implications. Participants in the study who were shown positive employee reviews required the smallest pay rises to work at that employer, as opposed to those who saw neutral or negative reviews. Participants shown positive reviews required an average pay increase of between 35-40% for a job similar to the one they are doing now. But participants shown neutral reviews of a company required a higher average pay increase (45-50% more), while those who saw negative employee reviews required an even higher pay increase (55-60% more). This data shows that job seekers are willing to work for a lower salary at a company where employees are more satisfied in their jobs, according to online reviews.

The study also finds employees give more importance to online reviews than awards, categorised in the study as recognitions awarded to firms for their human resource management practices. The participants of the study agree that online reviews are more reliable than prizes and recognition awarded to a company. The authors further conclude that such prizes employers receive should be supported and accompanied by positive online reviews, to reinforce credibility. Unlike most other awards that require nomination, the annual Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards for the Best Places to Work is based solely on employee feedback gathered year-round at thousands of companies.

The authors of the study concluded that online reviews matter to job seekers, and companies should use sites like Glassdoor. First, the authors advise employers to visit sites like Glassdoor to post information about why people should consider working there, and update this information as necessary. This recommendation reinforces Glassdoor’s own research that 74% of Glassdoor users are more likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand (e.g. responds to reviews, updates their profile, shares updates on the culture and work environment).

Second, the authors recommend that when negative employee reviews appear, employers should respond, including addressing the criticism and offering solutions already or soon to be implemented.  Glassdoor’s own data shows that nearly two-thirds (65%) of Glassdoor users agree their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review. Plus, one negative or one positive review alone does not make or break a job seeker’s opinion of a company, as Glassdoor data shows that the majority of Glassdoor users read at least seven employee reviews before forming an opinion of a company. Third, the authors conclude that both positive and negative reviews should be used as an opportunity for companies to better understand and improve their HR and recruiting practices.

“This study is more proof that there is real value for employers in engaging on Glassdoor, and that an investment in your employer brand may be worth its weight in recruiting gold,” said Kirsten Davidson, head of employer brand at Glassdoor. “This research, in addition to our own data, confirms that by simply monitoring an employer page, responding to reviews and making company updates on Glassdoor, companies can better compete in today’s tight recruiting market.


This academic report was conducted by Santiago Melián-González and Jacques Bulchand-Gidumal with the Institute of Tourism and Sustainable Development at University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Las Palmas, Spain. While the authors used Glassdoor online employee reviews to conduct their study with participants, the study was run independently without involvement from Glassdoor.


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