Over a third of job adverts fail to disclose salary, according to new research by data analysts at HR and leadership publication, People Managing People.

This is surprising given the fact that pay is a major factor that candidates consider when deciding whether to take a job – or even apply in the first place.

Pent up demand during the pandemic, the pursuit of greater job flexibility, and the cost-of-living crisis squeezing household budgets means people are moving jobs at record rates in the UK.

According to the latest figures, it is estimated three percent of the workforce switched roles between April and June 2022 alone – up from 1.7 percent in Q3 2020.

Why do employers hide salaries?

There are many reasons why employers hide salary information on job listings, explains Finn Bartram, Editor at People Managing People.

It offers businesses more negotiating power to agree on a salary in the later stages of the recruitment process once they understand the candidate’s expectations and their personal circumstances.

Hidden salaries are also a key competitive move to stop other similar businesses from knowing how much they are offering for a role and outbidding them to attract talent.

Employers also argue that publicising salary information publicly can cause resentment and demands for pay rises from their existing workforce, if they feel their salary does not fairly compare to what is offered to new recruits.

It can also create resentment when a candidate accepts a job offer if they know they have been given a salary at the lower end of the advertised pay scale.

What are the impacts of hidden salaries?

In today’s job market which is skewed in the candidate’s favour from growth pressures post-pandemic, vacancies taking longer to fill and widening skills gaps, employers are at risk of missing out on talent or narrowing the type of applications they receive.

Research shows that the pay gap – both for women and minorities – partly stems from the ‘ask gap’. This is the difference in what different groups expect when it comes to salary and how likely they are to get a raise if they ask for one.

A recent YouGov survey, of the 40 percent of adults who asked for a pay rise, just over a quarter secured one. When broken down by gender, 43 percent of men asked compared to 33 percent of women.

Also, 31 percent of men were successful, while 21 percent of women received a pay rise, fueling salary inequality.

Pay transparency can also go a long way in building trust within a workforce, equating to lower turnover rates and greater performance gains. With societal pressures to build transparency, promote truth and close inequalities, organisations opting for hidden salaries may need to rethink to get ahead.

Which job listings are most likely not to disclose salary information?

Within specific departments, marketing roles are the least likely to disclose salary information (41%), followed by sales and operations (35%).

By comparison, advertised roles for IT and HR professionals were the most likely to provide salary details with 27 percent and 29 percent failing to disclose, respectively.

Of the roles analysed, the highest rates of salary non-disclosure were found in job ads for senior and C-suite positions. Examples include Chief Technology Officer (81%), Chief Marketing Officer (71%), Sales Director (59%) and Operations Director (58%).

Comparing the UK against the U.S., researchers found job ads were much more likely to have undisclosed salaries for roles in the U.S. across all departments (57%).

While IT roles were the most likely to have salary information available in the UK, the picture is different in the U.S. Of the IT roles studied, 66 percent had no salary disclosed, followed by finance roles (61%) and operations (56%).








Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.