Why We Need to Be More Transparent About Salaries

There’s been a lot of conversation in recent weeks around salary transparency. Historically, charities haven’t been very good at this. And though there’s been a valiant effort in recent years to report on pay gaps, many charities are still leaving salaries out of the job spec, assuming talented candidates will apply, nonetheless. But the reality of the matter is that not including the salary in your job advert can do more harm than you might think.

True, salaries in the third sector can’t always compete with private sector jobs. But for most candidates that want to work in a charity, that doesn’t matter. What does matter is the time and effort they put into an application—the hours spent tailoring a CV or filling out a longwinded form only to find the salary expectations are far lower than what they were after. That’s not only discouraging; it’s downright disappointing.

But we can change that. It all starts with a commitment. If you’re truly ready to embrace inclusive recruitment, you need to really think about salary transparency. It’s time to take a step in the right direction.

A rising movement in charity recruitment

Earlier this month, a movement was born; a movement hellbent on transforming the sector one job ad at a time. On the surface, Show the Salary is a social campaign aimed at encouraging third sector organisations to be more transparent about salaries during the recruitment process. But this campaign differs in its ferocity. They don’t just reach out to organisations—they publicly call them out. You’ve probably seen them pop up in your Twitter feed asking charities to revise their job ads, calling for them to remove language like ‘competitive’ or ‘depending on experience’ and show what the roles are actually paying.

So why should this matter to you? Firstly, you don’t want to be publicly shamed. But more importantly, not showing the salary you’re offering for a job is in fact a discriminatory practice. If we hold off on revealing this information until the end, we’re forcing candidates to put in hours of work for a role that may not even match what they’re truly worth. The same goes for asking candidates what they earned in previous positions. You should pay someone based on their skills and experience, not what their last company offered.

How displaying salaries is good for your bottom line

We, as a sector, haven’t always been great at letting go of the past. But as we strive for greater inclusivity and diversity in our workforce, we need to honestly evaluate some of the tired and out-dated practices that we refuse to let go of—not showcasing the salary on offer is a big part of this.

Not only does publishing the salary open your role up to a wider number of candidates, it actively encourages people from diverse backgrounds to apply. When a company keeps its salaries a secret, they’re only reinforcing pay gaps. Being honest and transparent allows charities to gain the trust of both current and prospective employees.

best candidates and your job ad

Don’t miss out on an untapped talent pool

Talking about salaries can be uncomfortable. But it’s necessary if we want to ensure fairness and build trust. Recruitment should never feel treacherous or underhanded. We want to find the best people for our organisations, and part of that means being up-front about what we have to offer.

When you commit to salary transparency in your recruitment, you’re gaining a competitive edge when it comes to attracting candidates. That’s because most job seekers instantly look at compensation and benefits when they scan a job post. According to research conducted by LinkedIn, over 70% of professionals want to hear about salary in the first message they receive from a recruiter and 59% feel it is the leading factor in whether or not they are fulfilled in their career.

Add to that a failing economy and you’re left with a scenario where candidates don’t want to waste their time on a role that doesn’t give them what they want. In most cases, people are applying for dozens of jobs a day, so it only takes a second to scan your ad and click ‘next’ when they aren’t impressed by the information you provide. If you don’t list the salary right from the get-go, you could be scaring off exceptional candidates that would have otherwise applied.

Lead the change or get left behind

If the past seven months have taught us anything it’s that the world is changing—and fast. With organisations like Show the Salary, #CharitySoWhite and #NonGraduatesWelcome actively policing discriminatory practices in charity sector recruitment, it’s no longer enough to just be ‘well-intentioned’.

We need to actively change the way we recruit, and that means being more transparent and more open to people from outside the sector. It also means we need to stop putting off good candidates by asking for too much (unnecessary qualifications, requesting degrees that aren’t needed to do the job). There’s never been a better time to embrace change.

If you have any questions about attracting more diverse candidates in your recruitment, get in touch with one of our Account Managers today.

Tags: attracting the right candidates, charity recruitment, diversity and inclusion, diversity in hiring, salary transparency

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About the author

Stephanie Dotto

Content & SEO Lead at CharityJob. Lover of fiction, films and food. In a previous life, she was a music and tourism journalist. When she’s not writing and editing blog content, she is working on her novel.