Want to Escape Hiring Inertia? Pay Higher Wages — and List Salary Details in Your Job Descriptions

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Jul 4, 2018

Every employer wants to fill open jobs with qualified candidates fast. But recent employment and hiring trends data suggest that it’s only getting harder for companies to achieve that basic staffing objective.

The DHI-DFH Mean Vacancy Duration Measure, which draws on “JOLTS” data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, rose to 31.1 working days in April, the highest value on record. Meanwhile, the latest JOLTS data shows that there were 6.7 million job openings in the United States at the end of April — also a series high.

In an economy where the national unemployment rate is at a 17-year low — and rates for in-demand positions like software developer are trending even lower at 1.9 percent — how can employers escape hiring inertia?

The DHI Hiring Indicators Report recommends a two-part solution: 1) offer higher pay and 2) present salary ranges in job vacancy announcements. The report provides new evidence on wage posting behavior by employers and recruiters and the relationship of posted wages to the number of applicants.

“When employers offer higher wages, they attract more applicants. That’s no surprise, but the size of the effect is large,” said Dr. Steven Davis, Chicago Booth professor, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and co-creator of the DHI-DFH Mean Vacancy Duration Measure. “Applicant numbers rise by 9.5 percent for each 1 percent rise in the posted wage for vacancy announcements on”

Competitive Pay and Transparency Matter to In-demand Candidates

While some job openings on Dice’s website include numerical information, most do not. For example, only about 12 to 13 percent of job vacancies in technology and consulting — two of the hottest hiring sectors — include salary details. Lack of transparency about wages could be exacerbating hiring challenges for many employers, especially those trying to attract in-demand tech talent.

Eighty-four percent of technology professionals who responded to our first-ever Ideal Employer survey ranked competitive salary as the top attribute of an ideal employer. The fifth most important attribute, ranked by 80 percent of respondents, is open and transparent communication.

So, by paying competitively and sharing that information freely in your company’s job vacancy announcements, you are checking off two critically important boxes for many top candidates. You are showing that you understand how competitive the hiring market is for highly skilled tech pros. And you are not going to waste time — yours or the candidate’s — dancing around the topic of pay. Instead, you are putting your compensation cards on the table before a candidate even decides to apply.

Avoiding the Numbers Game in the Interview Process

Another benefit of being transparent about pay from the outset is that you can eliminate, or significantly decrease, the time needed for salary negotiations during the interview process. You can focus instead on getting to know a candidate and assessing whether that person is a good fit for the job and your firm.

Paying competitively and providing specifics about salaries in your job vacancy announcements can also help you attract highly qualified candidates who know exactly what their skills and experience are worth in today’s market. Even if your firm can’t offer higher wages for certain roles, being transparent about your rates of pay will still show your business in a positive light.

Of course, compensation isn’t the only thing that top candidates are probably looking for when deciding whether to apply for a job. Challenging work, benefits, and a positive organizational culture round-out the top five attributes cited by respondents to Dice’s Ideal Employer survey.

So, if your business provides any or all of the above — and has other “ideal employer” attributes, like manageable working hours and training and development opportunities — you need to make that clear in your job postings. It can make all the difference in whether in-demand tech pros not only notice your employment opportunity but also move fast to apply because they know it won’t be available for long.


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