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3 min read

What are the Pros and Cons of Salary Transparency?

What are the Pros and Cons of Salary Transparency?

Salary transparency is a hot-button issue in the current job market. Some employers worry that posting pay will scare away top talent, and others worry that it will frustrate current employees. Until recently, workers were more willing to take whatever job they could find and remain loyal to the company. But today, workers are more interested in transparency and creating equity through full disclosure. 

So what are the benefits of pay transparency, and what does it say about companies who resist the change?

 

Is there a downside to salary transparency?

 

Many companies worry that an ideal candidate will see the job listing, feel that the wage is not high enough, and therefore not apply. This is frustrating, especially when employers might have been willing to negotiate the salary to fit the needs of an ideal candidate. More importantly, then, is ensuring you include a competitive salary range on job listings.

Posting the salary also makes some employers feel as though people are only interested in the job for the money, but ultimately, pay is a major reason why most people work, and there is no getting around that. While some people may be passionate about their job, others may be passionate about philanthropy or providing for their families, so a job may be their way of achieving a different goal. 

 

Handshake deal and laptop on table

 

What does pay transparency say about a company?

 

According to Anna Aponesto, “lack of transparency around salary, especially during the recruitment process, is a bit of a red flag.”

Some workplaces like team members to keep mum about their salaries because different workers in the same position have vastly different income levels. This happens when some are better at negotiating than others. It can also happen as a show of favoritism.

By not posting salaries, you may unintentionally suggest that you want to hire new workers for as little as possible. Some even believe this is an anti-equity move because, traditionally, women ask for less money than men. Moreover, while women ask for raises as often as men, they are less likely to receive them. Ultimately, posting wages demonstrates a commitment to transparency and equity in the workplace.

 

What are the benefits of Salary transparency?

 

Aponesto notes that it comes down to the fact that salary transparency saves recruiters and candidates time. You might spend an hour interviewing a person, or worse, multiple interviews, just for them to find out the salary and turn down the position.

These days, Aponesto advises clients to “always research glassdoor” to check salary ranges at different organizations. It should be noted that pay for similar positions will vary based on location. Moreover, transparency is a major boon in boosting company culture.

The bottom line is companies with pay transparency demonstrate a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

 

What are the ethical considerations of transparent salaries?

 

The decision to post or not to post salary is a bit of a can of worms. Companies may be looking to be more transparent with job postings, but this can lead to a challenge with existing employees, as Aponesto notes, who may find that they are over- or under-compensated in their roles.

However, wage discrepancies and closing the pay gap have been major issues in recent years, and as a result, people discuss their salaries anyway. So, with an eye to getting ahead with better DEI and company culture, you may benefit from disclosing everything sooner rather than later.

 

Workplace benefits and pay transparency

 

Some workers might find that they are paid differently than their colleagues, but this can come with sound rationale. Aponesto adds that “you just want to make sure that you're, you're getting the right benefits because, you know, some people might take a lower salary, if they get a better PTO, those are things that some companies might be willing to forego or like negotiate with candidates.”

Some workers may even be happy to receive certain benefits in lieu of a higher salary. In those situations, they are essentially earning a comparable wage, but this is not reflected in the salary amount alone. Benefits, opportunities for growth and experience, and qualifications all go into determining the full value of the position.

 

Does salary transparency encourage more applicants?

 

According to Aponesto, the short answer is yes, but it’s complicated. Market conditions play a role in the number of applications coming in, regardless of salary transparency. When there is a glut in unemployment, for example, job postings will receive more applications regardless of whether the salary is posted. Ultimately, the big difference is that posting salaries will save everyone a lot of time at the outset.

At nTech Workforce, we believe in matching the right candidates to the right positions, and salary transparency plays a big role in this. Our creative solutions ensure organizations can build a winning workforce by finding, retaining, and engaging star talent to join the team.

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