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Salary Transparency for a Better Job Board

A weekly column covering the art and science of job boards & online recruitment advertising

By Stephen O’Donnell, CGO TAtech

Psst, for convenience, you can also listen to this blog.

As I write this, I am receiving scores of job email alerts, requests for more information to complete my profile, and even enquiries from employers and agencies who have discovered my dummy CV/resume on multiple job boards.

You see, I register with, and road test hundreds of job boards, career websites, and recruiting firm websites every year. This is the very thing we always ask anyone involved in running a recruitment website to do; whether you are a job board owner, sales person, customer support, or marketing executive, as it is vital to understand (so far as it is possible to do so) the experience jobseekers have when they use your platform. This product knowledge not only informs you of how your job board performs (as they are continually evolving), but also gives you a degree of empathy with the frustrations which beset candidates as well as the triumphs they experience.

I also receive snippets of unstructured feedback from thousands of jobseekers and recruiters every year, telling me what they like, and often what they do not like.

Now whilst I have a shopping list of wishes for the ideal job board, chief amongst these is that they use their influence for good, and to affect change with the content advertisers post in their job adverts. Consider this; you build the best job board / hiring platform in the world, with all the bells and whistles, fully accessible, easily searchable, logical navigation, and an engaging design. You then open the doors to paying customers, who post vague, dull, text-heavy, occasionally discriminatory, and overall unappealing jobs to your website. This content makes up the bulk of what candidates are experiencing on your job board, and is not likely to make you look as good as you’d like.

But what can you do? Paying customers have the absolute right to post unattractive job adverts (even though they’ll complain about the lack of response). Of course, in the past 2 decades, job boards have tried hard to educate advertisers, by means of coaching recruiters and hiring managers. After all this time though, much of that just hasn’t sunk in.

Which is why it’s refreshing to see a new campaign from Adzuna, seeking to make a significant change for the benefit of jobseekers – and by extension for employers themselves. This campaign is pushing for it to be a legal requirement for salaries to be included in all job adverts.

In August, California lawmakers passed legislation requiring all employers to post salary ranges on all listings. In December 2021, the New York City Council passed a bill which required the same (and for internal promotions too). In recent years, salary secrecy has been identified as a direct, but unaddressed, symptom of discrimination for women and minorities. Conversely, we know that the best cleanser for this is direct sunlight – openness and transparency.

In July this year, Indeed launched a similar policy to prioritise vacancies with salary details, and if not provided will display an estimated salary range. CV-Library in the UK outline their view on the same topic here, and why it leads to better job advert performance.

Adzuna’s campaign will not be without its critics and naysayers, who insist that there are many reasons not to disclose salaries in job adverts:

  1. This will upset existing employees
  2. This will reveal sensitive information to competitors.
  3. It will begin an upward salary spiral.
  4. Stating a salary before assessing the worth of a candidate is illogical.

However, if employers put themselves in the shoes of jobseekers, would they even consider applying for a job with no stated salary package? And if they don’t view their own vacancies as attractive enough, then prospective candidates (with much more choice of jobs) will assert themselves by simply not applying, or bailing out early in the application process.

PS. All other job boards would be welcome to join this campaign, and help to make it happen.

PPS. One wish of mine for job board search engines, is to have a filter which removes any j