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Developer Job Posts: Should You Include Salary Ranges?

Hiring Developers

You’re looking to hire a developer, and you’re just about ready to publish that job post.

You’ve put time and effort into describing the company, the role, the desired skills… and now you’re stuck. “Should I include a salary range on my job posting?”.

Well, it’s debatable. 

Those in favor… 

Those in favor of transparent and upfront communication around salary highlight several benefits to displaying a salary range on job postings. 

🔖 Related read: Why Pay Transparency Is A Good Business Practice And How To Approach It

Saving time

Sharing a salary range from the get-go can save both you and your candidate precious time. It’s excessively frustrating and disappointing for a developer to apply for a position, even get through the first steps of the recruitment process, just to find out that the salary offer doesn’t meet their expectations. 

Whether it’s simply “at least what I’m earning now” or a considerable bump, developers will have a number in mind. Both your time-to-hire and candidate experience could benefit from early-on salary communication. 

Building trust

Choosing to display a salary range is a strategic decision, part of your compensation philosophy and your company values. 

If your company prioritizes honesty and trust, displaying salary on job offers is an impactful way to “put your money where your mouth is”. 

On the one hand, you’re showing candidates that you’re ready to be transparent (and that you expect them to do the same). On the other hand, you’re showing employees that you have nothing to hide, that you’re not trying to short-change them on the sly.

Standing out from the crowd

Tech recruitment is particularly competitive. Displaying salary on your job posts can set you apart as an employer. Buffer, for example, has made salary transparency a core value and an integral part of their EVP (Employer Value Proposition). 

Today’s workforce is increasingly interested in learning about an employer’s position on compensation and transparency. Graduates especially, value diversity and social impact, pay transparency and growth opportunities. This can be seen in the increasing number of influencers and advocates for these subjects on social media

In fact, 85% of upcoming and recent grads say they’re less likely to apply for a job if the company does not disclose the salary range in the job posting.

Mitigating bias

Many industry experts believe that “salary transparency is the single best protection against gender bias, racial bias or orientation bias” (Dane Atkinson).

Gender bias and specifically gender pay gaps, are particularly present in tech. Uniting Cloud’s survey recently revealed a gender pay gap of 4% among junior developers, 27% gap among mid-level developers and 31% (31%!) among experienced developers. 

Transparent compensation practices hold companies accountable to fair pay and constant commitment. 

“For an inclusive employer, it’s important to be ahead of the curve, not waiting for legislation to dictate reporting but to instead be open and transparent about compensation.”

– Anonymous, People Analytics and HRMI Manager at large banking corporation

All opposed…

Although the general tendency is tipping in favor of salary transparency (it’s even becoming a legal requirement in places, recently in New York) some HR professionals argue that there are advantages to refraining from displaying salary information on job postings. 

🔖 Related read: Display the pay: how New York City’s salary transparency law will affect job hunters

Adjusting salary offers to skills, location, etc.

Not displaying a salary bracket could allow you to adjust your salary proposal according to hard skills. For example, you could take a developer’s technical test results into account when deciding what salary to offer them. Of course, if you’re already clear on what skills are required for the role, you shouldn’t need to make too great an adjustment.

For remote roles, withholding salary information could allow you to make a relevant salary offer based on location. Indeed, the difference in pay between a full-stack developer based in London, UK and a full-stack developer based in Mende, France makes it difficult to communicate a meaningful salary range.

Encouraging diverse applications

A lot of companies refrain from communicating salary ranges because they’re afraid they’ll miss out on applications. They’re holding on to the idea that they might snag unexpected profiles or decide to pay more than originally budgeted for an exceptional, must-have developer.

Some recruiters, Ophélie Delienne for example, suggest that displaying a salary could actually “put off” certain candidates. She reasons that women, for instance, are statistically more likely to underestimate what they could or should be paid. They may well be discouraged from applying for a position they feel is out of reach. 

Holding back to better move forward

Realistically, there are companies that are against salary transparency, companies that are oblivious to it and companies that simply don’t care (sad, I know). However, there are also a lot of companies who just aren’t quite ready. 

Compensation is a complex matter, and salary transparency is just one component of a more global strategy. Some companies are actively working towards fairer, more attractive compensation (audits and analysis, pay raise matrices, pay structures, employee surveys, salary benchmarking, etc.) and want to get their ducks in a row and anticipate impact before making durable changes.

Where CoderPad stands…

I’d love to say that we’re industry pioneers in salary transparency—and maybe we are. But our reality is a little complicated. 

Our policy on salaries is to pay the median wage in a person’s geography, based on role, skills and experience. We use external benchmark tools and internal analysis to put this in place.

Our People team has recently spent time working on skills mapping, career ladders, salary benchmarking and performance reviews to ensure all of our salaries are in line with this policy. We also want CoderPals to understand how they can grow within the company. 

But, in all honesty, we’re always working on improving the way we define and communicate salaries internally. It’s a tricky business!

“Compensation is a complex topic, especially for a multi-national company like CoderPad. We want to do right by our existing and future CoderPals, but we’re also working with a bunch of complexities—as are most employers in tech. I have empathy for job seekers who want clarity but also realize that people are more than just a number.”

Amanda Richardson, CoderPad CEO

As a California-based company, we now include pay ranges on our US job postings. So why haven’t we made this a global thing? 

Because we are first and foremost a remote company, and because we consider location when defining salaries. Our teams are distributed across the world. Salary for one role can literally double or triple depending on location (a small town in Europe vs. a major city in the US, for example). To display that great a salary range just doesn’t seem to make much sense or provide any clarity. 

We embrace the flexibility and autonomy of remote work—but it’s not without its upsides and downsides. We don’t want to dishearten or disappoint future CoderPals.

🔖 Related read: Company leaders weighed in on location-based salaries. Here are the pros and cons

Finally, whether you decide to communicate salary ranges or not, keep in mind that salary isn’t the only thing developers care about. Make sure to be transparent on the role (technical stack, project management methodology, short and long-term goals, etc.) and company culture (company values, social perks, team processes, etc.).

We’d suggest you communicate openly on these subjects from the get-go. You never know: if, in the end, your highest possible offer is still a little low, non-monetary assets may well sway developers. 

Indeed, more than a third (37%) of candidates say they’d be willing to accept a lower salary offer for a chance to learn new skills. Slightly over half (51%) would forgo higher salaries for more flexibility.

🔖 Related read: Top 5 Things Developers Look for in a Job Offer