Advice for Employers and Recruiters

Ask the Experts: Should employers disclose in their job posting ads the salary range they intend to pay?

Steven Rothberg AvatarSteven Rothberg
March 9, 2021

First Answer:

I am inclined to feel that employers should post the salary range in their ads. I think the reason employers often don’t disclose the salary range is because they are hoping to find a fantastic candidate without having to pay the normal range. Many times, one’s salary is more a result of what one earned in one’s last place of employment rather than what the job truly is worth.

To me, it seems unlikely that employers will find these amazing bargains and in the meantime, both the candidates and the employers waste a lot of time and energy spinning their wheels. A college grad unknowingly might apply to jobs for more senior candidates because of the lack of transparency on the posting.

Clarity and more transparency will attract the right candidates without squandering everyone’s time.

— Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005) and Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots (Sourcebooks, 2008).

Second Answer:


It’s an American quirk that employers don’t post salary as part of a job posting. In other parts of the world, it’s done most of the time. This cuts down on the numbers of people applying whose salary levels have moved beyond the quoted salary.

Employers argue that they need to have leverage when negotiating salary, or they don’t want their competition knowing how much (or how little!) they pay. I argue that they should pay someone what the job is worth, what the chosen candidate is worth, and negotiate instead on finer points of compensation (bonuses, benefits, similar). Employers, at least give a range — under $100K, give a $3,000-$5,000 range; more on salaries over that amount. 

BTW, employers, anyone can find out average salaries by state and even regions within a state by checking the desired job title on O*Net so it’s no secret what average pay is. So come on, just say what the range is so that you screen out the people whose salaries are beyond that — less paperwork for you.

Joanne Meehl of Joanne Meehl Career Services, also known as The Job Search Queen.

Third Answer:

Absolutely!  It’s all about transparency…

For a job seeker, who spends time scrolling trough hundreds if not thousands of employment opportunities, it helps them to make sure that the positions they apply to meet the salary requirement that they might need to provide for their family.  By not posting the salary requirement in the position description, the job seeker might spend hours of time applying for opportunities that they will never accept because of the salary level. 

For the employer, think about how many applications you receive for every position you post.  How many of those could be eliminated and how much time could you free up during this process if those applications you were reviewing already knew what the salary range is for the position and are OK with it? 

Also, when you post the “range” of the salary, make sure it makes sense.  For example, I saw a position posting that identified the salary range as “$45,000 to $86,500 per year”.   The job seeker only sees the second number, so when in the interview you bring up that the starting salary is $45,000, both you and the job seeker have wasted your time.  So post an honest range for a starting salary, not the entire salary range.  In the previous situation, a posted “range” of $40,000 to $50,000 would have been much more appropriate, and quite frankly, more honest.

The bottom line is that by not posting an “honest” salary range you wasting your most valuable asset – time.

Dr. Robert Shindell is the President and CEO of Intern Bridge, an experiential education research and consulting firm.

Fourth Answer:

Great question but probably no best answer. 

An argument, that more transparency by the employer in the recruiting process strengthens ties with candidates, advocates for providing salary information. With the appropriate information, students can make better decisions. However, this presumes that the candidate has a decision framework or, at least, accurate (reliable) sources of information that permit appropriate comparisons based on other aspects of the position.  Students are notorious for limiting their information sources to a few friends or adults who offer rather spurious or inflated salary expectations. 

Revealing salary range too early may raise more problems than it solves.  When I talk to students, I try to convey that salary is not the only benchmark in thinking about a position.  Salary is part of a package – within that package – healthcare, vacation, sick leave, educational assistance, career options, etc.  They should be comparing the total packages offered – not solely deciding based on salary.

Companies are spending more and more on healthcare in these packages and have had to hold limits on salary increases.  Candidates still find it hard to avoid the focus on salary — all the world talks about is $$$$ — so their eyes go to the bottom line. 

Companies who clearly lay out their benefits packages at the appropriate time received warmly and positively from students I work with.   I prefer the total package approach over revealing salary too early in the recruiting process.

Dr. Philip D. Gardner is Director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. His major areas of research include the transition from college to work, early socialization and career progression in the workplace, workforce readiness, and other areas related to college student studies.

Fifth Answer:

When employers post the proposed salary in their online job posting it is a “Win-Win” for everyone involved! It saves time for both the job seeker and the employer and it can save up to $12,000 or more for the employer, especially when multiple interviews for a position are required. Why?

Every time an employee, manager or executive is pulled away from their desks to interview a candidate it is costing the company “person-hours” (previously called man-hours). That means lost productivity and, as such, lost money.

Consider an entry-level Project Coordinator in an Information Technology company. Depending on the responsibilities. “Project Coordinator” responsibilities could range from mostly administrative tasks to full-blown Jr. Project Manager complex logistics strategizing and orchestrating. It could be a position that requires knowledge of MS Word and MS Excel or it could be a role that would be better suited for a person at entry level with a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certificate that is conversant in complex lean manufacturing techniques like Agile and Scrum. That said, a Project Coordinator position salary could range anywhere from $30K for the mostly administrative role to $70K. for the Jr. Project Manager position.

Listing the salary or salary range on the job posting helps manage both the job seeker and employer expectations. As a Career Coach for 29 years who has written many articles and a chapter in a book about negotiating salaries, I know the anguish of the job seeker who spends hours – yes, MANY hours and very often, days – targeting a resume and cover letter to a particular opening, being selected for an interview, spending more hours researching the company, preparing for an interview for a position where the salary was NOT advertised only to go through two or three interviews, being selected for a position that turns out to be $15K short of their expectations with no “wiggle room” is not only disappointing – it can be (temporarily) devastating.

Now, let’s look at the employer side of an entry-level Mechanical Engineering job (which could range anywhere from ($35/hr to $55/hr). For that level of an individual contributor, there could be as many as four interviews; the first with Human Resources, the second with the Hiring Manager, the third with Directors of cross-functional departments, and the final with a Vice-President of Engineering or Operations only to find out that the parties could not agree on a suitable salary and the position is rejected either by the candidate or the company. What a waste of time in “person-hours” this can be – especially if some of the members of the company are interviewing as many as the top ten candidates for the position, all the while being pulled away from their regular job responsibilities, thereby losing hours of productivity.

As a hiring manager myself, both in the television industry and in a non-profit industry, I’ve experienced hiring for positions both WITH and WITHOUT disclosed salaries in the job postings. My candidates were much more on target and appropriately matched both in skills, qualifications, and salary expectations when the salary was transparent from the start of the process. 

Marky Charleen Stein, CEO, Institute for Career Coaching LLC.
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