Talent Trends: Pay Transparency

LinkedIn published their Global Talent Trends for 2019 to highlight 4 key trends transforming the workplace:

1. Soft skills

2. Work flexibility

3. Anti-harassment

4. Pay transparency

We’ve covered a different trend every day this week. Today, it’s the last one: pay transparency.

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In the UK, 50% of talent professionals say pay transparency’s important to the future of recruitment. On separate ends of the spectrum, it’s 34% in Germany and 81% in Argentina.

And there’s been a +136% increase in posts about pay transparency on LinkedIn over the last five years.

Ordinarily, it’s not something employers are prone to disclosing, for fear that employees will become disengaged, jealous and less than pleased when they find out what their colleagues make.

And there’s an assumption that prospective talent will automatically opt for the top end of a salary range if it’s advertised on a job spec.

These are legitimate concerns. Although the companies that are transparent about pay say the benefits include a streamlined negotiation process, as well as fair pay across all employees, including minority groups and women.

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“Breaking the taboo to build trust”

Anil Dash is the CEO at Glitch – the company responsible for Stack Overflow and Trello – and says that being open about pay’s ensured they treat and compensate all their employees fairy.

This has helped to build trust, support retention, increase job applications, and has become a source of positive feedback both internally and externally. 

Here’s how to achieve pay transparency at your recruitment business:

1) Audit your pay structure

Compare salaries to your competitors and close any gaps among gender, race and those in similar roles

2) Decide what transparency means for you

Will you start publishing salaries on job ads or are you going into exact detail with every employee?

3) Seek feedback from your team

Anonymous surveys are a great way to gauge opinions and get employees involved in new policy

4) Determine what constitutes an employee’s pay

What criteria qualifies someone for the bottom, middle and top end of a pay range? Is it years of experience or individual billings?

5) Train your team on transparency

Pay’s a much easier topic to talk about if everyone feels they’re able to broach the subject and answer questions confidently

6) Consider a long term approach

Transparent pay doesn’t need to be rolled out immediately; in fact, introducing policy gradually allows you to test and amend as you go

7) Communicate clearly at every stage

Pay transparency doesn’t begin and end with disclosing salaries; openness is a cultural issue, and if you can link it to your core values, it makes your case – and the policy – stronger

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Broadcasting Salary

Recently, I wrote about the link between core values and culture. With a particular focus on Netflix. I mostly talked about their recruitment strategy. But one thing I neglected to mention is their attitude towards pay.

They let employees choose how much equity’s involved in their salary and benefits package. And then recalibrate their base accordingly.

They also encourage their staff to take calls from recruiters. And report back to HR on the kind of salaries being offered. Netflix then use that intel to make sure they remain a competitive employer. And in the long run, it helps prevent people getting poached.

So there’s a retention case to be made for pay transparency when it’s adopted as a cultural value. 

And when it comes to talent attraction and acquisition, putting the salary in a job ad *apparently* increases the application rate by an extra 30%.

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The Gender Pay Gap

Kim Elsesser’s a contributor to Forbes, covering “the intersection of business, psychology and gender”. In the piece ‘Pay Transparency Is The Solution To The Pay Gap‘, Kim uses UK tech firm Verve to make the case that the title of her article’s not an exaggeration.

“Organizations like Verve demonstrate that pay transparency isn’t a pipe dream. It’s a realistic solution that can be implemented today”

In 2018, they “made all salaries at Verve internally transparent, so everyone knew what everyone else is paid“. They did this because it aligns with their cultural value of ‘openness’. Because they want to change the conversation regarding pay in the workplace. But mostly because it’s fair.

As a result, the team’s more engaged, new hires are onboarded with minimal hassle, and Verve have no problem attracting a diverse workforce. 

talent trends pay transparency

Part 5, chapter 3, section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 requires “private and voluntary sector employers with at least 250 employees in Great Britain to publish information about the differences in pay between their male and female employees”.

The government’s even set up a service to search and compare pay gap data. And the idea behind it’s that once pay gap data’s in the public domain, employees are free to act accordingly and within their best interests.

To that end, and at the very least, transparency equals empowerment.


This article’s part of a series based on LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends for 2019

Click here to read part one, on soft skills in recruitment.

Click here for part two, on work flexibility.

Click here for part three, on anti-harassment.