Why choosing the right salary level for your job ad is so important

Salary is a crucial factor for candidates when they are looking for a new role. But how can salary information help employers ensure they are targeting the most relevant candidates and positioning their ads for success?

Until recently, one of the biggest challenges for employers when posting a job advertisement on SEEK was determining the most appropriate category to post their ad in. Previously, for example, when candidates searched for positions within aviation services, the stated salary range may have been anywhere between $40,000 and $120,000 because it included pilots, flight attendants, baggage handlers and so on. This had a big impact on the quality and quantity of candidate applications. “Misclassified ads attracted a poor response from candidates,” confirms SEEK User Experience Lead, Rob Scherer.

Each year SEEK hosts three-day hackathons, where employees join together to focus on solving key customer challenges. At a recent hackathon, Scherer and a team of colleagues decided they wanted to help employers whose ads weren’t performing as well as they should.

“When we look at ad performance, 50 per cent of underperforming ads (ads that receive fewer applications than other ads for similar roles) are advertised with a salary range below the market average,” says Scherer.

Why salary is important to candidates

For many candidates, salary is a central consideration. Candidates often use the salary in a job ad to determine whether they have the right skills, experience and capability for the position.

“As candidates can refine their searches to a salary range, it’s critical that ads are posted with an accurate and competitive salary to appear in relevant candidate searches,” says Scherer.

Why salary is important to employers

Salary is also a key issue for employers. Without knowing what the market is paying for similar roles, hiring managers can be left guessing on salary range, and may advertise a role for remuneration below what candidates expect.

All job ads on SEEK must include a salary range. This is used to help candidates search for the most relevant roles. “We know some employers prefer not to display the salary on their job ads,” says Scherer. Despite this, around half of all employers acknowledge that are more likely to receive more of the right candidates if they do choose to display the salary.

Cooking up the idea of Salary Chef

Scherer and his team came up with the idea of ‘Salary Chef’, whereby employers can see a likely salary range based on role title and location. The idea conceived at the hackathon, got the go-ahead and was built and delivered in less than a month.

“To help employers to determine the appropriate salary range for their ad, we now show (where we have enough historical data) the salary range that similar ads have been advertised with,” Scherer says.

The salary range and graph provided ensures employers have the best chance of success with their ad by positioning it at a relevant salary band for the market.

“By showing the employer the salary range that similar jobs have means we are helping them to see if their range is in the right ballpark,” says Scherer.

“We want to ensure that they are not missing the mark.”

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