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UK employers ignore calls for salary transparency on job ads

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Job ads with a salary receive 6x more applications

The proportion of UK job ads including vital salary information has slipped to a seven year low as employers ignore calls for salary transparency.

Adzuna – a job search engine company – analysed 80 million UK job ads advertised between 2016 and April 2023 to highlight the sectors, regions, and companies who are most and least transparent about pay.

Despite the data showing job ads with a salary receive 6x more applications, 51.5% of UK job ads disclose salary in April 2023 – down from 61.4% in April 2022.

Key report findings:

  • Energy, oil and gas sector sees largest fall, followed by admin and trade and construction
  • Most secretive sectors: retail, scientific and QA, creative and design
  • West Midlands is the most straight talking with 55.6% of job ads disclosing pay
  • Only 29.5% of job ads in Northern Ireland feature salaries, the lowest of any region, followed by Scotland (41.7%), Wales (47.0%) and London (49.7%).

Job vacancies have slipped -19.5% across the UK and the labour market has become tighter. Falling salary transparency suggests employers may be using this shift in power to rein in salary disclosure and keep a tight lid on budgets when filling roles.

Only 26.8% of Retail jobs included salary information in April 2023, falling 14 percentage points (pp) from 40.8% a year ago. The next worst offending sectors are Scientific and Quality Assurance (QA) (29.3%) and Creative and Design (31.1%).

Compared to a year ago, salary transparency has slipped fastest in the Energy, Oil and Gas sector, where the proportion of job ads disclosing salary information has fallen by 17.5 pp from 50.9% to 33.4%. Similarly, fewer salary details are on offer for admin jobs compared to a year ago, down 17.1pp from 73.0% to 55.9%. Trade and Construction saw the third largest fall, down 16.3pp from 69.1% to 52.8%.

Voluntary jobs are most likely to include pay information, with 84.3% of job ads disclosing salary in April 2023, followed by Social Work roles (72.9%) and Logistics and Warehouse positions (70.9%).

London has been cited as having both the worst ethnicity pay gap and worst gender pay gap, suggesting a correlation between a lack of transparency and inequality.

Andrew Hunter, cofounder of Adzuna, said: “Compared to last year, the power in the jobs market has shifted back to companies and we are seeing fewer job ads disclosing the salary as employers find it easier to fill positions. As well as making the job hunting process less stressful and less time consuming for jobseekers, salary transparency is a crucial step towards eliminating pay gaps in the jobs market.”



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