A culture of salary secrecy in the UK is limiting hiring managers’ ability to secure the best talent, and especially diverse candidates.

The research by Reed.co.uk found that more than one in five (22%) jobseekers exclusively apply for jobs with a listed salary, but recruiters have admitted that they still either don’t include the salary, or only sometimes include it, on nearly half (44%) of all job ads. 

The study suggests that four in five (78%) jobseekers are less likely to apply for a job vacancy that does not display a salary.

 Money talks, but employers remain silent

While jobseekers state salary as being the number one reason to apply for a job, almost two-thirds (62%) of hiring managers believe a lack of salary transparency on job ads has no negative impact on applications, and less than half (46%) of employers have a salary transparency policy.

Managing Director of Reed.co.uk, Simon Wingate said: “You wouldn’t shop in a supermarket that doesn’t list its prices, so why should we expect people to sift through job ads that don’t advertise salary? From our research, it’s clear that jobseekers want to apply for roles at businesses that are open about what they pay. We know from our website data, that roles which display a salary receive 27% more applications than those without.”

Almost half (48%) of all jobseekers say the absence of a salary on a job advert negatively impacts their perception of the hiring company. Additionally, a quarter (26%) say the word “competitive” in a salary description is likely to put them off applying for the role.

Transparency enables greater diversity

Improving salary transparency could contribute towards solving the nation’s hiring challenges, as well as widening the candidate pool for employers.

A high proportion of hiring managers found that providing salary details delivered more applications (42%), greater relevancy of applications (38%), and saved time in the recruitment process (35%).

The research also showed that showing a salary would help recruit from a more diverse pool. 

More than a quarter of respondents (27%) also said showing salary generated more applications from diverse candidates. This is supported by data from the study which found that women (81%), disabled (81%), LGBTQ+ (81%), and black people (87%) were much less likely to apply for a role without a salary being shown, compared to the national average (78%) 





Feyaza Khan has been a journalist for more than 20 years in print and broadcast. Her special interests include neurodiversity in the workplace, tech, diversity, trauma and wellbeing.