For many years, we believed that we served our clients best by not listing salaries. Without disclosing in writing the projected salary, there was more leeway when recommending someone who was willing to accept a lower salary, someone outside of the box who was changing fields and someone who had applicable and transferable skills but very different experiences. We were concerned that qualified candidates might not apply because they would perceive that the salary was lower than they were seeking when our client might be open to a higher compensation.
But, after reading the literature of the last few years and much internal discussion in our firm, we have decided that we will begin to list a salary in the job descriptions for the searches we conduct.
- Primarily, it is about equity and inclusion. Women and minorities are less likely to negotiate or understand their value due to the long history of discrimination. In addition, there is a question about how negotiations are perceived. According to HyperAllergic, “Studies on wage compensation have for years proven that women who advocate for themselves and their compensation at any stage in a job application process are viewed as aggressive. Their male counterparts are not.” A disclosed salary tells prospective employees what their potential pay could be, based on the organization, not their salary history.
- Every candidate could research comparable salaries, but it is sometimes difficult to ascertain how much is being offered to prospective employees. Candidates can do research on salary estimator tools but that doesn’t always account for the pay difference between similar positions. The Chronicle of Philanthropy instituted a searchable database in June of 2019 to try to help comparisons. It is focused on large nonprofits (which raise more than $35 million) and their staff who earn more than $150,000 but it is a step towards transparency that should be acknowledged.
- We believe that hiring the ideal candidate is a conversation between parties who respect each other. Presumably an organization and a candidate hope this relationship will last for a reasonable amount of time. To list a salary in the job description is a way to start the relationship with trust and openness that can set the tone for the new hire’s tenure.
- While there will often be some flexibility for a suitable candidate, providing the salary at the start clarifies the process by making it more transparent and open.
If you would like to talk about your next executive search and how listing the salary you plan to offer can help attract the best candidates– email me today.
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