Can advertising job salaries help to lower the gender pay gap?

Does putting the salary range on a job advert help to address the gender pay gap?

Gender Equality Finance


How does the way salary is handled at the recruitment stage impact the gender pay gap?

A poll last week by Reed showed four in five jobseekers say they would be less likely to apply for a job if the salary is not stated on the job advert. The survey was seeking to ascertain to what degree salary transparency might affect labour shortages. It also showed that one in five people only apply to jobs which state the salary on the advert. Meanwhile, 44 per cent of managers said they don’t specify salary in every job advert.

The issue is a live one as the Fawcett Society, for one, has been calling for greater transparency over salary for some time and for salary history not to be a factor in pay negotiations given that it entrenches previous gender pay gaps. For instance, if a woman starts on a lower salary and then moves to another organisation where she is paid according to her previous salary and a man doing the same job was paid a higher salary in his original job and has that higher salary increased in the new job inequality is sealed in and only grows over time.

I’ve seen this happening to colleagues who have perhaps started in an admin role and have then moved over to editorial, but on a lower rate than men who came in through another route. The women’s salary is then increased in percentage points as they rise up the organisation, but because they were behind from the beginning the gulf widens between them and the men. Women and men may not even know this is happening because of the lack of transparency about pay and because people can be very reluctant to discuss it.

The poll came as the Government announced for International Women’s Day that it would be piloting a scheme where employers list salary details in job adverts and stop asking about salary history in the recruitment process.

It says the initiative aims to improve pay transparency in the job application process and is based on evidence which shows listing a salary range on a job advert and not asking applicants to disclose salary history help women to negotiate pay on a fairer basis.

Not listing the salary range in a new job means that women have to know where to pitch what they ask for, which, for various reasons, is a minefield. Greater salary transparency, which the Fawcett Society argues should include a ‘right to know’ what a male comparator is being paid, helps to expose all the various ways in which women fall behind men when it comes to pay and is a vital part of how we address the gender pay gap. Without that transparency it is difficult to know where the problems are and how big they are so that we can do something about them.

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