Should Job Descriptions Include Pay Data?

More than one third of HR and hiring managers expect more employees to quit their organization over the next 12 months, while nearly half (45 percent) cite salary as the top reason for employees changing jobs, followed by career advancement opportunities, benefits and location.

That’s according to a new Glassdoor survey of 750 managers in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, which also found that two-thirds (64 percent) of the respondents believe their own organizations do a satisfactory/very satisfactory job at clearly setting pay and benefits expectations within job postings. Nevertheless, Glassdoor’s own research finds that fewer than one in 10 online job listings include pay data in the job description.

The decision over whether to include pay data in job descriptions has, to some extent, been taken out of employers’ hands by salary estimator tools from the likes of Google for Jobs, and Glassdoor itself, which debuted its own salary estimator tool for job listings last year.

By withholding pay information from their job descriptions, employers are giving themselves a negotiating advantage, wrote Forbes contributor Liz Ryan in a post several years ago. Yet they also routinely ask job candidates to disclose their own pay history as part of the interview process, she noted. The best thing for both parties, Ryan wrote, is for companies to include salary range data in every job description — that way, people who won’t work for that salary level will avoid wasting their time and yours applying for the position.

Being upfront about pay can also save employers from unwanted churn, says Glassdoor CHRO Carmel Galvin.

“If candidates were better informed about how their pay and career could progress during the initial job search and recruiting process, they would be less likely to take a job that turns out to be a bad fit,” she says. “Recruiters and hiring managers need to manage expectations and use all channels available to them to communicate with potential candidates to ensure pay realities meet expectations.”

They should also keep in mind that while pay is a critical factor in getting the talent you want, culture matters more when it comes to long-term retention. Indeed, a recent survey of 4,900 professionals by Korn Ferry that asked the top reasons why they’d consider looking for a new job this year, “higher salary” ranked fourth, behind job insecurity, lack of cultural fit and “I’m bored and need a new challenge” at No. 1.

“There is almost always going to be a rival firm that could potentially pay your best people more, but [research] confirms that company culture matters more than pay as a driver of long-term employee satisfaction and commitment,” says Galvin.

Andrew R. McIlvaine
Andrew R. McIlvaine is former senior editor with Human Resource Executive®.