iTnews asks: Why are salaries left out of job ads?

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iTnews asks: Why are salaries left out of job ads?

Show me the money.

Ever been offered a job only to find the money was so low, you'd have never bothered applying in the first place?

Its an all-too common occurance in the IT industry. This week iTnews pulled together some of the leading IT recruiters to ask why.

Most agree it's a problem. But salary ranges were still left off job advertisements in part to avoid workplace tension and manage candidate expectations - or simply because the client didn't know exactly how much they were willing to pay.

"I understand job seekers would like to know what the money is," said Hays IT regional director Peter Noblet.

"I think a lot of the time clients aren't sure exactly what they want to pay and they don't want to discount someone for a role because [the candidate] wants $10,000 more than what it's advertised for."

Managing director of Clicks IT Recruitment Ben Wood encountered similar issues when advertising contract roles, not wanting to discount candidates at the outset because they wanted more money.

"[Pay rates are] often not listed because the hiring decision is about time and money, not just about money," he said.

"For example, someone at $100 an hour might be able to do [the job] in half the time as someone at $75 per hour.

"When comparing the skills and experience of two or three people, you have to make sure they all represent good value for money. That doesn't always mean to say they're good value for money at the same rate."

Advertising pay rates also created an issue because every candidate believed they should be paid in the upper-end of the bracket. That made it difficult to manage expectations, Wood said.

"If you put a range of $50 to $60 an hour then a candidate is always going to think they're worth $60, not $50," he said.

Another reason given by recruiters as to why salary ranges were left off advertisements was a political one for the client.

"There are certain instances where a client doesn't want to put a salary range on [a job] because they don't want their internal staff to know what they're advertising roles for," said Peoplebank's chief operating officer Peter Acheson.

Wood agreed: "Sometimes the client will say ‘Don't put the rate on the advertisement' in case their internal people see it. They could be on less or more which creates a bit of tension. It's just a bit safer [not to advertise the pay]."

According to Noblet, the lack of salary advertising should not be viewed as an attempt by the recruiter to drive down the salary on offer, arguably deriving added ‘value' for the client.

"This vision that it's all about the recruiter trying to get salary down as much as possible... it's not about that," he said.

"Ultimately the recruitment company wants to place people in roles. We're not trying to get in the way of doing that.

"If a client says this is what we want to pay, fine. [But often] it's not just about the salary. It's about what this job will offer the person in the future, what new skills they can develop."

Finite IT general manager Duncan Thomson said job boards including Seek were providing a way around the issue.

"If you go to Seek [as an advertiser] it now enables you to put a blind salary range in. You tick a box with the salary range, and when the candidate does a search, it pulls up the job even though it doesn't mention the salary in the advertisement," Thomson said.

Thomson believed it was important to list the salary range in advertisements "to avoid wasting time on both sides."

"There's no point stringing people along," he said. "Have the money in the ads."

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