The Impact of Pay on Attracting Tech Talent

Your choice

So, you are a tech talent, and are actively browsing for a new job, or perhaps just perusing. You want a new role that offers a fresh challenge, technically and career-wise, but you also have needs you need to satisfy also. In the words of LunchMoney Lewis: “I got bills, I gotta pay.” Perks and healthcare are added benefits, yes, but compensation — in the form of salary and equity, are important also when considering your future career path.

Whether money is a motivator has been questioned by academics (there is an excellent piece by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic in Harvard Business Review that covers the arguments against well), but does openly displaying salaries affect candidates’ interest in applying for roles?

Our Non-Scientific Evidence

On hackajob, employers get to choose whether they want to specify salaries or leave it as ‘competitive.’ For the purpose of answering the above question, we’ll use this as a metric. Companies overwhelmingly list salaries as ‘competitive’ when given the option. However, on taking an equal sample of jobs listed for the past month, the number of ‘hacks completed,’ or in other words, applications made and finished, the picture differs somewhat.

Using our users to observe response to this, we took 25 jobs with salaries listed, and 25 with ‘competitive’ given as the salary. The jobs with salaries listed had 413 ‘hacks completed,’ compared with 263 for ‘competitive’ salaries. This is roughly 57% more applications made and finished when a specific salary or range is attached.

It must be noted however, and as the subheading indicates, the method behind this isn’t the most scientific or academic. All jobs have been up for the same time period (one month), and we have as best possible tried to factor in job type, level and respective pay for those positions. With that said, it does help suggest that pay transparency or clarity is something tech candidates consider in their choice of job roles.

The Questions

There are a numbers of questions we could follow up the above with: why might more candidates apply to jobs with specified salaries? Do transparency, certainty, or basis for comparison contribute to this?

To the reader: What about yourselves? Do you find yourself more or less inclined to job listings where the salary is only given as ‘competitive?’ Does the listing of a specified salary motivate or deter you from applying to a technical role? Let us know your thoughts.

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