Lack of salary transparency is the biggest complaint:

New research by Adzuna*1, the smartest job search engine, has revealed the biggest complaints faced by job seekers across the country, with half (48%) claiming that no salary or lack of salary clarity in job advertisements is the biggest problem.

This comes as seven in ten Britons (69%) think employers need to be more transparent in their job advertisements, with a third (31%) believing that pay transparency should be the number one priority in postings – more important than the job itself (18%), location (11%) or any work benefit schemes (7%).

Adzuna’s mission is to make the job market fairer and more transparent forever. In addition to asking all companies to display salaries in their job advertisements, the company is taking it a step further by campaigning for the UK government to make the inclusion of salaries in job advertisements a legal requirement.

Employers who do not include salary information in job advertisements are leading to wasted hours for job seekers. More than a third (36%) turned down a job immediately after discovering their intended salary, after going through lengthy interview processes.

On average, job seekers wasted six hours applying for a job, with the wrong salary, with 13% wasting more than 10 hours in the process and 3% investing more than 20 hours in interviewing for the wrong job. In total, Adzuna’s analysis of job search activity over the past five years revealed that UK workers wasted more than 70 million hours applying for jobs at the wrong pay*.

Now, nearly half of workers (46%) would not show up for an interview in the future if they didn’t know what an employer was willing to offer in terms of salary.

Pay transparency fueling the gender pay gap

While the lack of pay transparency is frustrating on a practical level, it also hides a bigger problem, helping to perpetuate the gender pay gap. The survey found that women (33%) are much more likely to find lack of pay transparency a problem compared to men (21%).

There is also a connection between pay transparency and the gender pay gap. A recent analysis by The Times*2 found companies with the widest gender pay gaps, including ASOS, EasyJet and Savills, all of which have low levels of pay transparency according to Adzuna data.

North x South Division

There also appears to be a regional divide when it comes to pay transparency. Yorkshire and The Humber (63%) are the most open and honest, while London (55%), Scotland (49%) and Northern Ireland (28%) are at the bottom of the list. Interestingly, London was cited in the news as having the worst gender pay gap and the worst gender pay gap, which adds fuel to the fire.

industry division

The lack of salary transparency is an industry-wide problem, but some sectors are doing better than others. Charity and volunteer work (88%) are the most transparent, followed by social work (76%) and manufacturing (75%). Creative and design jobs (32%) are the least transparent, while retail jobs (37%), energy jobs (39%) and IT jobs (43%) are also among the lowest.

Growing Appetite for Transparency

UK workers are clamouring for more transparency in the labour market. In fact, the lack of salary in a job advertisement makes potential employees sceptical of the employer.

A third (32%) assume the company is hiding something, while a quarter believes it shows the company would pay less (24%). Others think it makes the company seem unreliable (22%), unprofessional (21%), or shows that they are biased about how they pay their employees (18%).

A third of Brits (32%) don’t know how much their peers are being paid, but four in five (80%) would be open or neutral to their peers knowing how much they earn. Two-thirds (63%) think employers making wages more transparent would make the workplace fairer.

Salary transparency at the start of issuance

Salary transparency is just the tip of the iceberg. The worst bugbear is not getting a response after applying for a role (32%). Alarmingly, job seekers have applied on average for seven jobs over the past five years, with only three in ten (30%) of those applications leading to an interview.

The issue is so profound that four in ten (42%) Britons wanted to change jobs but decided not to, as the job search process is so stressful. On average, this led to them staying on the job for another 3.5 years. A tenth (13%) are still in their jobs as a result.

Azuna worked with straight-talking TV personality Olivia Attwood, who took to the streets to get the country talking about pay transparency.

Olivia commented, “Let’s be honest (I always am!), job hunting can feel like a nightmare. Whether it’s worthless job ads, lacking salary details and unrealistic standards, or being ignored after an interview, there’s a reason I applied to be on the reality show; the job search was not for me. It’s great that Adzuna is addressing the issue directly and campaigning to make salaries in job advertisements a law. I’m all for more transparency – I even tried to sign the petition twice!”

Doug Monro, co-founder and CEO of Adzuna, commented, “Our research confirmed what we’ve thought for a long time – job seekers are fed up with the job application process and the lack of salary transparency in job advertisements is one of the main issues. We are campaigning to make the UK Pay Transparency Act and inviting all companies to join our mission.”

“We want employees to know their value and spend less time on applications, but we also want to add value to employers who will be able to attract the right candidates. Most importantly, we want to tackle the existing gender pay gap and see pay transparency as the start of this important journey.