Are ‘Competitive’ Salaries Losing You Candidates?

If you’ve spent any amount of time working in the recruitment industry, one phrase you will quickly become

If you’ve spent any amount of time working in the recruitment industry, one phrase you will quickly become familiar with is ‘Competitive Salary’. While it is a popular tactic for those creating job postings to list their offered salary as ‘Competitive’, is this ambiguity around wages costing recruiters and employers’ potential candidates?

Some will argue that listing a role’s salary as ‘competitive’ is actually a good thing for the employer. It can be argued that this practice encourages candidates to focus on the role itself, rather than just the remuneration. This in turn provides you with applicants that are genuinely enthused and interested in your role, rather than just cold hard cash.

It can also be argued that this suggests an employer is open and amenable to negotiation when it comes to salary, which could be seen as a bonus by candidates. However, this can be a risky tactic. Here we explain some of the drawbacks of just being ‘Competitive’.

A turn-off for the young

Not listing a full salary figure will hurt your chances of attracting young graduates. According to research carried out by Milkround, 43% of graduates stated that they were much less likely to apply for roles where the salary was listed as competitive, rather than stating a specific figure.

Competitive salaries are proven to put off recent graduates

It seems that graduates are put off by the lack of transparency when it comes to applying for roles. This could be due to younger workers not having faith in their ability to negotiate well for a salary, or because there is a lack of trust in employers to offer a fair salary. Whatever the reason, many graduates are choosing to apply for roles where the salary expectations are already set out to both parties before interviews.

Lack of transparency

Another drawback to not revealing your salary expectations as an employer is the perceived lack of transparency. By not disclosing the full remuneration package, candidates can feel that potential employers aren’t being entirely honest with them, and can call into question other aspects of the role as well.

It could argued that with a bit of research, candidates would be able to find an average figure based on similar roles nearby and take this as a rough estimate. However, in today’s candidate competitive market where employers are struggling to find talented staff, do employers and recruiters really want to make extra work for those applying for their roles?

Could a lack of transparency be driving candidates away?

Especially when you consider that, with record low levels of unemployment, most recruiters will be looking to tempt candidates who already have roles. Although time-poor, these candidates generally can afford to be picky about what roles they apply for. Therefore, recruiters need to ensure that the hiring process is as simple and painless as possible in order to be successful, and part of that should be setting a concrete salary.

SEO rankings

Not disclosing a salary will hurt your SEO rankings

Another way a ‘competitive’ salary can hamper your candidate search is that it can adversely affect your SEO rankings. Google for Jobs, for example, uses a stringent 23 point criteria when accessing roles for its search engine, with one of these being the role’s salary. Failure to include these figures will see your posting demoted down the rankings, with posts stating a salary given priority over yours.

Our research shows that candidate conversion rates can be up to 3 times higher when candidates reach careers sites from Google for Jobs than other channels, so those looking to attract top talent ignore the detrimental effect of unoptimised postings at their peril.

Should you stay ‘Competitive’?

While there is an argument to be made for listing your salary as competitive, it seems that detrimental effects it can have to your job posting far outweigh the positive. This is especially true if you are looking to attract younger talent for your roles.

Being forthright with your offered salary will show you to be honest, transparent and help boost SEO rankings of your job posts, which in turn should increase the amount of high-quality applications you receive.

If you are looking at ways to improve your application rates, or are looking to improve your digital marketing strategy, why not contact us at hello@enhancemedia.co.uk, or call us on 01483 719020 to discuss how we can help.

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“Enhance Media have partnered with Reed Exhibitions globally to help us to improve our candidate attraction practices. They created a social media strategy including a review of leading platforms resulting in a more consolidated approach which improved coordination and saved costs. Enhance Media designed and build a new careers page for Reed Exhibitions and project manage our social media posting. Our teams enjoy working with the Enhance project group, we respect their professional approach, customer focus and flexibility”

Global Human Resources Director, Reed Exhibitions