Pay is Becoming Less of a Mystery

A new service from LinkedIn is the latest tool to make salary information more easily available to job candidates.

By Andrew R. McIlvaine

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Description generated with high confidencePay transparency has long been a sensitive topic for employers, particularly when it comes to salary discussions with job candidates. Companies have routinely asked (or demanded) that candidates list their preferred salary for a position without disclosing what they're willing to pay until late in the process.

As websites such as Salary.com and Payscale launched, however, candidates began to get a bit more insight into what companies were willing to pay for certain jobs. More recently, companies like Glassdoor began introducing tools such as Know Your Worth that help jobseekers and current employees get a better idea of what a position pays and how their own pay compares with what others in similar positions are making. LinkedIn joined the club in 2016 with its LinkedIn Salary tool, which allows users to see a detailed breakdown of salaries by job title and location, based on information submitted by its members. Today, it formally announced Salary Insights, which will appear on LinkedIn's job listings and show an estimated or expected salary for the role.

"We can all agree the world is changing, and salary transparency is becoming more commonplace," says Keren Baruch, LinkedIn's senior product manager for Salary Insights.

The Insights data is based on information submitted by LinkedIn's 530 million members and employer-provided information. With the new service, employers that post jobs on LinkedIn are offered the option of including the expected starting salary for a new role or position prior to posting it on the social-networking site. If the employer elects not to provide the information, LinkedIn will add an "estimated salary" to the posting -- provided that it has sufficient data from members matching that exact title, company and location. The employer will be able to see the estimated salary prior to the post going live.

"We think setting salary expectations upfront will make conversations between recruiters and candidates more efficient," says Baruch. "Jobseekers will be able to see right away whether or not the salary associated with a position matches up with what they're looking for -- if it doesn't, they can move on and recruiters don't have to waste their time engaging with these candidates."

Making salary information available upfront will eliminate the "elephant in the room," says Baruch, or that awkward phase of the recruitment conversation when both parties have to begin talking about salary expectations. "With the salary expectations already addressed, recruiters can devote more of their time to pitching candidates on the organization's culture, career paths and other benefits."

Thanks to the #metoo movement, salary has become an even more fraught topic these days, with recent revelations -- such as the discrepancies between what actors Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams were paid for the movie All the Money in the World sparking calls for greater pay transparency in Hollywood as well as other industries in the hopes of addressing the pay gap between men and women. Some companies, such as Whole Foods Markets Inc., have long made their salary information available to employees. At software firm Buffer, reports Business Insider, anyone can look up the salaries for each of the company's 65 or so employees (listed by their first name and position only).

Pay transparency may not be right for every company, notes Business Insider. At software firm GoDaddy, the company has "found something of a middle ground between pay transparency and confidentiality: It lets employees see the salary range for their level."

Feb 13, 2018
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