Friday, April 16, 2021

There’s an impact when you’re not including salary details in job adverts.

Adverts that are ambiguous or secretive about pay discourage job seekers as they raise distrust and an opportunity for wage discrimination.

“There is no question that excluding salary details in job adverts can be a deterrent to talent. ”


The most important thing you do with your labour is negotiate a price for it.

Employer information advantages during recruitment can lead to race based wage discrimination even when the job adverts say ‘BEE Appointment’.

BEE hasn’t done much for wages, particularly black women. Their interests are vital yet appear to go nowhere as they remain worst off according to income inequality statistics.

In fact, inequality rises unabated even though legislated protections exist – this implies we are not addressing all value chain actions when job seekers move into employment.

Recruitment and Wage Discrimination

Consequences are missing for employers using wage discrimination.

People desperate for work are opportunity for employers to claim power they are not entitled to, this is called monopsony. e.g they are not entitled to discriminate against applicants who refuse to divulge pay information in order to fairly negotiate their pay in exchange for their labour.

Employers such as SANOFI use anti-competition recruiters, Kelly Recruitment, to advertise vacancies and no doubt screen applicants. Sanofi adopts pay secrecy in all job adverts on their website and those posted by Kelly. They consistently use the term Equal Opportunity Employer’ yet we find little or no substantive evidence to support this.

PayScale Reviews:

Sanofi and Kelly create opportunity for wage discrimination and making unfair offers when they adopt pay secrecy as opposed to pay transparency.

Kelly Recruit demands pay slips from job seekers on behalf of their clients. This is anti-competition and unfair in terms of job applicant and their current employer constitutional rights.

If an employer uses a recruitment firm known to violate a series of regulations, why should the public believe the employer provides an ‘equal opportunity’ environment and doesn’t discriminate against applicants on the basis of their pay expectations or pay slips.

The demand for pay slips prejudices job applicants right to a fair and competitive wage negotiation as employers claim they are obligated to use rival employer pay as a benchmark. This vicious fallacy perpetuates an unequal and unfair status quo allowing race and gender wage discrimination.


The roots of inequality have been studied for decades. Some people have more than others because they advantage themselves. A business owner believes he is entitled to driving a bargain price for labour wherever possible.

Income and income inequality result from participation in the labor force and in the marketplace. In their models of labor force and marketplace participation, economists have worked out in great detail the relationship between income and economic participation. 

Brady 2003

In other words, income inequality is as a result of the terms and conditions of your participation in the labour market. This refers to your contract of employment and what you agreed to be paid. What you agree to can result in you being paid unfairly and unequally.

Women will be paid less where there’s secrecy, no transparency and information asymmetry

Young Women’s Trust chief executive Dr Carole Easton OBE said:

We have to break the cycle that traps women in low pay. Women often start work on a lower salary than men, move to a new job and are paid based on their previous wage, as opposed to what they or the role are worth – so they continue to be paid less. Ending this practice is crucial to ending the gender pay gap.

“Our research shows that women are more likely to disregard jobs if they feel their skills don’t match up to them, compared to men who often apply anyway.

Including salary details in job adverts would help women to see that jobs are in fact at their level and give them an idea of where they should be negotiating from to progress their pay.”

Pay secrecy during recruitment is only fair if the organisation is upfront about the salary range on offer.

When adverts are not transparent about pay, they can be questioned in terms of wage discrimination.

A lack of transparency is contentious for those forms advertising as ‘equal opportunity employer’ indeed the use of secrecy raises many questions.

Pay secrecy is unfair on job applicants thereby violating their constitutional right to labour market fairness. While job applicants are not considered employed, they are participating in a labour market function that is protected by law.

If an employer begins recruitment with a lack of transparency, when do they become transparent and upfront about pay during the recruitment process?

Perhaps organisations should focus their equity plan by matching their conduct to black women’s interests.

A black woman is always central to the story of inequality. Historically, she’s the one most deprived in economic chains, policy should be based on her needs first then it’s truly pro-poor and niether racist nor sexist.

Labour market research shows negotiating skills can be gender stereotyped, (we’ll write more about that in another article).

Girl children are generally taught to be sweet and kind, and we all like them that way!

But these traits are not always conducive to wage negotiation skills development. Women can fear coming across as too difficult if they negotiate their wages from a position of equal power. 

Social capital is raised during conversations with friends and family describing experiences, sharing stories candidly and transferring knowledge across generations.

A black female labour market entrant from Lilani, raised by granny who worked as a domestic, has likely had little access to these conversations.

A female from Houghton, with lawyer and accountant parents could likely have earned an equivalent of a negotiation degree by the time she enters the labour market. She could have viable connections through her parents, be exposed to more divergent labour market experiences and stories.   

Yet even with advantages, women are still more likely to be paid unfairly and unequally to men.

For equity, employers must be transparent about pay during recruitment.

The right people exist, recruitment is being done wrong.

Be Transparent

  • A study by SMART Recruit Online  suggests that job adverts with salary details will get 30 percent more applicants
  • Jobsite estimates that drop off rates for job adverts without salary details are between 25-35 percent
  • numerous studies show salary details in adverts help close the gender pay gap
  • Moen (1997) shows how employers who include pay in adverts increase their competitive advantage

The perception of job applicants as greedy and believing themselves entitled to a high salary has no grounds, in fact a study found that

individuals may be willing to pay a premium in the form of lower wages to accept an identical job with a firm that increases their pride and self-esteem. (Cable and Turner 2003).

If companies are honest in their interactions with potential workers and are transparent with current employees, firms can attract great people even if their talent rivals pay more.

Report Bad Brand Behaviour

  • It’s poor corporate policy to adopt unsustainable practices such as paying for recruitment services that discourage talent as opposed to attracting it, particularly women.
  • Secrecy and information asymmetry indicates a brand where recruitment code of conduct is not aligned to equity or fair treatment.
  • An unsettling experience, candidates are discouraged by the brand behavior as it prejudices their right to a fair wage negotiation
  • A brand that shows no consideration to candidates who become trapped in spending time applying for roles they later find they can’t afford to take.

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