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Noura Dadzie

Talent.com

Senior VP Sales

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Why now is the time to make salary transparency a legal requirement

The UK needs to be more progressive and make salary transparency a priority
the_myriad_benefits_of_salary_transparency

In the UK, there is currently no obligation for employers to list a salary on job advertisements. 

As a result, around only one in five job listings include salary information. But might now be the time to compel businesses to advertise the salary expectations in their job listings?

A different picture across the pond

In New York City, the Salary Transparency in Job Advertisements laws came into force on 1 November 2022, which require all employers with four or more employees, or one or more domestic workers, to include a good faith salary range for every job, promotion, and transfer opportunity advertised. 

Similar laws followed suit in both California and Washington.

Right now, the UK is not quite as progressive when it comes to legal provision for salary transparency, yet we have seen calls for legislation to follow that of America. 

Let’s get progressive

Public opinion shows great support for the practice. Research of 2,000 jobseekers by Talent.com demonstrates that 98% of employees want to know the salary before applying, and would be put off if this is not made clear, whilst 79% would support a law requiring employers to disclose salary ranges in job postings.

There are numerous reasons why businesses might be reluctant to list salaries – from losing out on potential candidates, to setting up fixed cost pressures that could damage the business in the future – but there are also huge upsides, that both employers and applicants are missing out on. 

Salary transparency might even be the key to eliminating the shrinking gender pay gap

Here’s why we at Talent.com believe that, even though not yet formalised in law, salary transparency should be high on the agenda for all people managers:

Enable businesses to attract and retain top talent

Without legislation, the onus to be open and transparent about salary expectations is put squarely on the individual business. 

Currently, only 20% of all job postings in the UK, as listed on Talent.com, include salary details, which will alienate a large proportion of applicants, and likely cause a glut of applications to the minority of jobs that do list salaries. 

Rather than reducing the number of applications – maybe from those who deem a salary too low, it sets expectations from the start – enabling a more targeted hiring campaign. 

Salary transparency should be high on the agenda for all people managers

Giving expectations and gaining the edge

By setting salary expectations from the start, hiring personnel are less likely to waste time pursuing candidates for whom the final salary offer will be too low, after a period of time in which both parties look forward to working together. 

Listing salaries should instead be reframed as a tool to set expectations, screen out unsuitable candidates, positively impact the bottom line, and ultimately give your business an edge over competitors that continue to conceal salary information. 

A money-saving tactic

It’s easy to assume that salary transparency means public commitment to certain fixed-costs. This pressure – particularly in times of economic stress – might influence conversation one way in the short term, but it’s also important to consider the costs of unfilled positions. 

For hiring managers, it’s imperative that essential positions are filled, to keep the business running and to reduce the cost of employee turnover.

But also in times of economic stress, companies cannot afford to waste money or be inefficient. If salary expectations are set from the start, you can reduce the financial drain of employee turnover. 

Nurture an open and inclusive culture

For businesses to thrive with a modern workforce, they must respond to the needs and impulses of their employees. 

Talent.com’s research shows that over one-third of employees find it difficult to discuss salary during a job interview, a trait particularly pronounced in younger applicants. Over half of Gen Z wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing salary with their colleagues – a trait that could lead to future problems. 

If discussions about salary are difficult, then companies must reassess how the topic is approached from the outset. 

If salary expectations are set from the start, you can reduce the financial drain of employee turnover

Putting conversations on pay on the table

Feeling underpaid is a huge cause for employees to move on. With cost-of-living on the rise, and the effects of financial pressures on an individual’s mental health, employees who are reticent to negotiate salary –  whom the company may very well deem worthy of a pay-rise – might up and leave before the topic is raised. 

Salary transparency legislation would place conversations about pay on the table from the very beginning, opening up dialogue for all to discuss pay without fear. 

Companies must reassess how the topic is approached from the outset

Stamp out inequality, and finally close the wage gap?

Ultimately, companies that are transparent about pay send a clear signal that they are committed to prioritising fair pay and equality, at a time when one-third of the respondents reported to have experienced pay discrimination. 

When salaries are publicly listed, it’s harder for underhand biases to continue and jobseekers know this: 71% agree that salary transparency will help to close the gender pay gap, whilst 66% agree it will do the same for ethnic minorities.

Salary transparency might not yet be ratified in law, but it could very well be on the way. In the meantime, forward-thinking people managers might strongly consider adopting the practice to reap its many benefits ahead of both time and of their competitors. 

If you enjoyed this, read: Closing the gender pay gap before 2042

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One Response

  1. Salary transparency refers to
    Salary transparency refers to the practice of disclosing information about employee compensation to other employees and the public. This practice has numerous benefits for both employees and employers. To start off, it promotes fairness and equality in the workplace. Transparency allows employees to understand their worth and ensure that they are receiving fair compensation relative to their colleagues. This reduces the likelihood of discrimination based on factors such as gender, race or ethnicity. Secondly, transparency can increase employee trust and job satisfaction. When employees understand how their pay is calculated and how it compares to others, they are more likely to feel valued and respected by their employer. This can ultimately lead to higher levels of motivation, engagement, and commitment to the organization. As a last point, salary transparency can aid in attracting and retaining top talent. Candidates are often attracted to companies that are transparent about their compensation practices, as it demonstrates a commitment to fairness and honesty. Additionally, current employees are more likely to stay with a company if they feel that they are being paid fairly and that their employer is committed to transparency. Overall, the benefits of salary transparency are numerous and can lead to a more equitable, engaged, and productive workforce.

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Noura Dadzie

Senior VP Sales

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