Reluctancy over Pay Transparency

UK employers ignoring calls for salary transparency on job

The proportion of UK job ads including vital salary information has slipped to a seven year low as employers ignore calls for salary transparency, according to job search engine Adzuna.

The company analysed 80 million UK job ads advertised between 2016 and April 2023 to highlight the sectors, regions, and companies who are most and least transparent about pay.

Despite Adzuna data showing job ads with a salary receive six times more applications, just 51.5 per cent of UK job ads disclosed an intended salary or salary range in April 2023, significantly lower than 61.4 per cent a year ago. Aside from March 2023 (50.8 per cent), it marked the lowest level of salary disclosure since Adzuna began collecting data in April 2016 – seven years ago.

Year-on-year, job vacancies have slipped -19.5 per cent across the UK and the labour market has become tighter. Falling salary transparency suggests employers may be using this shift in power to rein in salary disclosure and keep a tight lid on budgets when filling roles.

Retail is the most secretive sector, with just 26.8 per cent of Retail jobs including salary information in April 2023, falling 14 percentage points from 40.8 per cent a year ago. The next worst offending sectors are Scientific & QA (29.3 per cent) and Creative & Design (31.1 per cent).

 

Compared to a year ago, salary transparency has slipped fastest in the Energy, Oil & Gas sector, where the proportion of job ads disclosing salary information has fallen by 17.5 percentage points from 50.9 per cent to 33.4 per cent. Similarly, fewer salary details are on offer for Admin jobs compared to a year ago, down 17.1pp from 73.0 per cent to 55.9 per cent. Trade & Construction saw the third largest fall, down 16.3pp from 69.1 per cent to 52.8 per cent.

Voluntary jobs are most likely to include pay information, with 84.3 per cent of job ads disclosing salary in April 2023, followed by Social Work roles (72.9 per cent) and Logistics & Warehouse positions (70.9 per cent).

“Employers are ignoring calls for greater salary transparency, with the proportion of job ads including vital salary details at a seven year low,” said Andrew Hunter, cofounder of Adzuna. “Compared to last year, the power in the jobs market has shifted back to companies and we are seeing fewer job ads disclosing the salary as employers find it easier to fill positions. Against the context of a slower economy, this may also reflect a growing pressure to keep to tight budgets, but falling pay transparency comes with a very real societal cost – making pay gaps worse.

“On the global playing field, the UK may be falling behind, with major cities in the US like New York introducing legislation making it law for employers to include salary information on jobs ads, and the EU Pay Transparency directive pushing through a similar initiative in Europe,” added Hunter. “As well as making the job hunting process less stressful and less time consuming for jobseekers, salary transparency is a crucial step towards eliminating pay gaps in the jobs market. By setting clear salary brackets for a role, jobseekers know the fair pay rate and whether it’s worth their time applying. For employers, including the salary on a job ad leads to 6x more applications, so it’s a win-win situation.”

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