4 Reasons Job Postings Don’t List Salary, And What to Do


Why Isn’t Salary Always Listed on a Job Posting?

As online job boards have become the preferred method of advertising for open positions today, many job seekers have noticed a downward trend in the number of job postings without salary and benefits details. Understandably, this can be a source of frustration to those looking for jobs, especially because the application process has become much more involved and time-consuming in recent years.

Although the pursuit to have a career that fulfills you emotionally is a noble one, many job seekers have a specific degree, a number of years with progressing experience, or a personal bottom line that requires serious consideration of the salary that an opening offers. A position that clearly posts the associated salary range can save a job seeker a great deal of time and effort. If you have ever found yourself asking why salary isn’t always listed on a job posting, we have some answers.

Four reasons why job postings don’t list salary:

1. Employers today have found it’s not necessary to list salary.

In recent years, the trend has been to not include salary and benefits information in job listings. During the Great Recession spanning 2007 through 2009, human resource departments became inundated with job applications from professionals seeking work. It was at this time that employers found they no longer had to include salary information to attract high-quality applicants.

Even though our economy has reached new highs in the aftermath of the Great Recession, many companies continued this trend, opting to list that the salary depends on experience (DOE) or is commensurate with experience. This means that employer will sift tailor its salary and the extent of its benefits package based on the level of knowledge and experience that a given candidate brings to the table.

Perhaps a company is entertaining the notion of filling a role with either a younger employee who’s hitting their career stride, but may require more training, or an achieved professional who has shown they can do the job, but might cost more money up front. While both options could be a strong fit, employers will consider several variables before naming their number.

2. Withholding salary gives employers more negotiating power.

Employers want to find out as much as possible about a candidate before revealing details about income. In some cases, for example, companies with a remote workforce don’t have to pay as much for employees living in rural areas with lower costs of living. Often, candidates from smaller towns are satisfied with a lower income than someone who lives in an expensive metropolitan city, though they may have the same skills.

All of this information can play into an employer’s salary offer. “When it comes to remote jobs, location is often a factor in how an employer sets the salary,” says Brie Weiler Reynolds, FlexJobs senior career specialist and career coach. “That changes things because you may be live hundreds or thousands of miles away from the office, or there may not be an office at all! To figure out what salary range you can expect, conduct your salary research using three locations: your location, the company’s headquarters location, and a country-only search. With these three locations, you’ll see the broad range of your potential salary.”

3. Employers want to avoid competition between current and new employees.

In a perfect world, all employees doing the same job would make the same amount of money when they started out. Realistically, however, each employee brings individual skills and experiences to a job that makes them more or less valuable in terms of salary. The amount of money an individual is willing to settle for and their location are also factors that influence compensation.

If companies posted salary information in job descriptions, current employees could easily view salary information for new hires and that could foster competition and unrest within the company.

4. Employers want to avoid competition between other companies within the industry.

In today’s market, companies also don’t want to advertise their compensation packages because it makes them more vulnerable to their competition. Competing organizations could use salary information to win over candidates by offering them more money or target high-performing senior staffers within that organization.

What to do when salary isn’t included in a job posting: Three tactics.

1. Negotiate your salary.

Many job seekers find it awkward to negotiate salary. They worry about how their request will be perceived and whether they’ll be viewed as demanding, greedy, or just not worth it.

If you’ve increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction, saved or earned a company money, or gone above the call of duty in other ways for former employers, be sure to talk about that and show how you can bring the same results to the company in which you’re applying.

2. Know before you go.

Knowing everything you can about the company and the average pay for the job is crucial. Start with a simple Google search of the company’s name and research the company’s website. Glassdoor is another resource for finding inside information on companies from former and current employees.

Glassdoor offers company reviews, salary reports, benefits reviews, and much more to help job seekers learn about prospective employers. Other useful resources for finding out the median salaries for a given occupation include PayScale and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

3. Get it in writing.

Once you’ve negotiated a fair salary and accepted a position with your new employer, be sure to get your agreed-upon salary and benefits in writing. Doing so will eliminate any possible misinterpretations and offer you a paper trail of the final negotiations.

Although it’s becoming less common to see salary information within a job posting, there are ways to gain a general understanding of what a specific position might pay. Being educated about the companies you apply to, their industry, and the job market is the best way to land a great job at a salary that works well for both you and the company. So even though there are reasons why salary isn’t listed on a job posting, candidates can still be prepared to get what they want.

Are you currently searching for a new job? FlexJobs helps job seekers find flexible work arrangements — ranging from partially remote to fully remote — in more than 50 categories. Partner companies include Fortune 500 brands, nonprofits, and mid- to small-size businesses.


Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com

Originally published June 30, 2013. Previously updated August 16, 2017.