Salary on the job offer: should the salary be indicated in the ad?

test recruteur by vectorjuice


To indicate the salary on the job offer, our opinion at the outset: yes, in most cases it is better to do so. But… there are always “buts”.

Finding the right candidate for a position can be a daunting task for recruiters. One of the best levers to find the best candidate at the right time is to offer an attractive compensation package, but this is not the only one and is not always possible.

Is it necessary to indicate the salary on a job offer? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of indicating compensation, as well as some tips to help you make an informed decision.

The advantages of indicating the salary or a salary range in the job offer

The main advantages are relatively obvious:

  • Avoids unpleasant surprises for the candidate during the process, which means a reduction in the dropout rate
  • Attract passive candidates who are already in the job but can see the opportunity for an increase in their income
  • If the compensation is attractive, it enhances the company’s image and health, and is a way to promote the employer brand.
  • In a competitive sector, it allows you to stand out from the competition and to attract talent to your company rather than to the competition
  • If the salary is not indicated, candidates will tend to think that the salary will be (too) low or that the company has not yet thought about it, which immediately gives a more negative image.

This all makes sense, but here are some additional numbers to help contextualize this:

According to Robert Half, salary is the number one criteria candidates use to select a position or company.

A May 2022 study by Hellowork indicates that 87% of candidates consider it important to have the salary indicated as soon as they read the ad.

All of this obviously seems to emphasize the “yes, you should put the pay on the ad”. However, let’s look at the arguments to the contrary for the sake of accuracy.

The advantages of not indicating the salary on the job offer

There is always a “but”. If these arguments do not necessarily reflect our point of view, we should still talk about them.

  • Do not close any doors, some recruiters fear that by indicating a salary that might be too low for an ideal profile, while they would be willing to make an extra monetary effort for the golden candidate, they would miss opportunities.
  • Not all candidates are equal in the idea of the previous argument, you may indeed have a position that could suit a junior to whom you would offer a junior salary, but could also benefit from a more competent profile who will therefore have a higher remuneration. This is especially true for positions with a relatively broad scope.
  • You can’t afford to pay more than the minimum, in the corporate world there are times like that. If you know that, unfortunately, you can’t afford to pay as much as someone else for a position, indicating the salary could deprive you of candidates who could be won over by the position, the missions, the company culture or your other assets.
  • Internal comparison, we still live in a time, especially in France, where compensation is a taboo subject in many companies. Indicating the salary in an advertisement could potentially damage morale within the company. If you offer as much (or even more!) in an ad as the salary of an employee already in place, with seniority, in an equivalent position, it is easy to understand that they will take it badly. To avoid this: conduct an internal study on your employees’ compensation to smooth out any inequities.
  • To have a margin of negotiation, this argument is often evoked, to let the candidate indicate what he wishes to eventually “make savings”. Morally, we don’t see how to defend this argument; but it had to be mentioned, because it is the argument of some recruiters.
  • Leave more room for women. This argument is, admittedly, a sad one, but nevertheless a reality. According to a 2019 KGM study, only 34% of women negotiate their first salary versus 41% of men. Not stating the salary, limits the “self-censorship” of women who might feel that the salary is too high for the skills they feel they have. I can’t wait until this is no longer a reality.

So, finally more arguments against than for? Yes… but these arguments are sometimes morally dubious or can be circumvented.

Why we think it’s better to state the salary on the job offer

Already, it is in the air of time, one of the biggest job board which is Indeed takes the direction to make it compulsory to post an ad, and if you do not indicate anything in LinkedIn, the platform will itself indicate a range of estimated salary according to the data shared by the professionals of the sector.

Why? Simply because that’s what candidates want. And that contrary to what some arguments against mentioned above, this is not necessarily a blocking element. This is what is revealed in the Hellowork study linked above.

Not indicating the salary means potentially losing half of the candidates. Even with a salary lower than their expectations, only 20% of the applications are lost (still according to this study).

Finally, even with a salary that is “too high” in relation to their expectations, only 4% of applications are closed.

According to different studies, if in the case of low salaries, the number of applications will drop if the salary is indicated, the trend will be reversed as soon as a higher median salary is reached (around 1,800 euros net/month), where applications will start to be more numerous on ads that indicate the salary than on those that do not.

So, finally, do we indicate the salary on the job offer or not?

Given everything you’ve just read, you can at least make a more informed decision.

If the position you are offering is at minimum wage or lower than the average for this type of position, you will potentially get more applications by not indicating the salary.

On the other hand, it will be inevitable: you will increase the abandonment rate. So you have to ask yourself this question:

Do you want a lot of applications, but lose a good part of the candidates, with the frustration that this can imply for you and for them, with the time lost that goes with it; or do you prefer fewer applications but for which the question of the remuneration that you propose is already clear?

Finally, if the estimated salary is higher (or close to) the famous 28,000 euros gross per year, or higher or equal to what is proposed for this type of position, then indicating the salary will be positive for you.

Whatever happens, transparency and communication are part of your employer brand, and it is these kinds of “details” that will help you maintain it.

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