When you don’t disclose salary range on a job posting, a unicorn loses its wings


pizza-926104_640pdHi everyone. Today, while driving past a take-and-bake pizza place, I noticed something: The dude who normally stood at the corner wearing a toga and spinning a giant arrow sign pointing the way to the shop had been replaced by what looked like a cardboard cutout. It was holding the giant arrow, but the sign was hooked to a spinning machine. And I thought, “This is an example of what’s wrong with our world! Artistic sign spinning has been outsourced to machines! Where is the artistry, the finesse?!” I was so annoyed, I only bought one pizza to bake at home.

Why am I bringing this up? Because unlike many other fields, the nonprofit sector will always rely on human beings. When other professionals are replaced by robots in the future, we will still be around. Can you imagine a robot trying to do case management or counseling or advocacy?

Despite our reliance on people, we have a bunch of no good, very bad habits in hiring and in paying nonprofit professionals. I talked earlier about our need to raise salaries. And also the need to reexamine our archaic, inequitable hiring practices such as the overreliance on formal education. And now, we need to dismantle another terrible habit that many, many of us have, one that we don’t think much about, but one that is driving lots of people nuts, perpetuates gender and other inequities, and increases the power imbalance between employers and employees: Not listing salary ranges on job posting, and putting “DOE,” which stands for “Depending On Experience” instead. Here are reasons why it is so awful, and why we should all agree to put an end to “salary cloaking” immediately.

It wastes everyone’s time. If you think not listing salaries will allow more candidates to apply, you may be right. But will they be the right match? Lots of candidates may apply, since they have no clue what you will pay. The top candidate will move forward, not knowing if they can work with this mysterious unknown salary, but ever so hopeful. If they find your salary offer is too low, they may likely decline your offer, trash-talk your cheap organization, and the hiring team must start from square one. It wastes the candidates’ time, and it wastes the hiring team’s time. Why not just list the range, and let people self-select if they will apply or not? It cuts down on the number of applicants, and the ones who do apply will be much better matches because they will know exactly what they are getting into.

It disregards the fact that people have to support themselves and their families: Let’s be honest with ourselves: Compensation is one of the first things all of us scan for when looking at a posting. The expectation for candidates to not bring up the salary until the end is naïve and irresponsible. We need to live and support our families on these salaries; our payment is not a pleasant bonus we get for saving the world. As a colleague of mine says, “When you don’t give a salary range, you’re saying that you’re only going to hire people who are married to people with professional salaries, young folks still supported by well-off parents, and the independently wealthy. The rest of us can’t spend a half-day writing a cover letter and tailoring a resume to your position, only to find out later that we can’t live on what you are offering.”

It perpetuates the gender wage gap. We all know on average women make only 78 cents for every dollar the dudes make. There are various reasons for this, but one of the reasons is that society rewards men for being aggressive negotiators while punishing women for the same thing. Having a clear range cuts down on the need to haggle, which increases gender pay parity. 

It discriminates against people of color: Studies show that similar to women, people of color are also screwed over in the salary negotiation arena. Many people come from cultures where aggressive negotiation is not a norm. (Except maybe at the markets, involving my aunts and some fish). I’ve seen way too many colleagues of color take offers significantly beneath what they should be making. Transparency at the onset will cut down on this.

It drives away potential good candidates: Several of my peers in the field state outright that they will not apply for positions that do not list a salary range. If you aren’t organized enough to figure out your budget in creating a position, and transparent about it, many qualified people won’t want to work for you. And some of us are awesome unicorns who also make delicious naturally-fermented pickles to share with coworkers, so your organization is missing out on yummy probiotics.

It starts a relationship off on a lack of trust and transparency: When you don’t list a salary range, there will be an awkward and distracting tiptoeing dance with agorillapd giant gorilla throughout the hiring process. Unless you are ballin’ in the cash-money department, someone will be disappointed. Maybe a candidate will accept your job offer, even though they were hoping it would be more, since, again, they have a family to support. But they may be bitter and resentful. Do you want to start the relationship off that way?

It is inaccurate: There is rarely such a thing as “Depends On Experience” in the nonprofit sector. A candidate may be ridiculously experienced, but you have a budget, and there’s no way you are going to go beyond a certain number, no matter how experienced they are. (In other words, you know your budget, and you won’t budge it) It is only accurate if you attach it to a range: “$45,000 to $50,000 DOE,” for example. Then candidates will know that depending on their experience, they will get somewhere within that range, and no one feels bamboozled. Most candidates will expect the offer to be somewhere in the middle.

For these and other reasons, D.O.E on job postings must D.I.E. As another colleague says, “This is a practice adopted from the for-profit sector, to try to get someone for as little as possible; it’s dishonest, ivory-tower, and needs to end. The implication is that hiring committees expect people to apply for a job with no idea what it will pay, as if it were an academic exercise, not a matter of feeding your family.”

Salary history must die too. And while we’re at it, can we put an end to the equally archaic and bizarre corollary practice of asking people for their salary history during negotiation? How is what someone made in a previous job relevant to the current, completely different position? Salary history is a great way to ensure that people who are underpaid—again, a lot of women, people of color, people with disabilities—remain underpaid. I have a friend who passed by several jobs that would have paid her three times what she is making; because she loves and is loyal to a small organization, she decided to remain there as ED, earning $45,000. When she finally left on good terms, a bigger org asked for her salary history and then offered $49,500 to be its ED, because that’s a “generous 10% increase” from what she was making, even though the industry average for an ED of an organization of that size is about $60,000. That’s effed up. 

So hiring managers, I am begging you, start a professional relationship off right with equity and transparency. Examine why you are not disclosing your salaries on job postings.

Is it because that’s the way you’ve always done it? Well, let’s be more thoughtful, because people’s lives depend on our decisions. Let’s move with the times. Ifcodpiecepd we keep doing archaic stuff, why stop at salary cloaking? Let’s also continue to use leech therapy and codpieces.

Is it because your salaries are so laughably low that you’re afraid to disclose them? Then you need to start working on increasing your salaries to sector averages, while disclosing them so people know what they’re getting into before they spend hours of their lives going through your process. (See, “All right, we need to talk about nonprofit salaries.”)

Is it because you don’t want existing staff at your organization to know what a new team member is making? Why not? If you’re afraid they’ll get upset if the new person makes more than they do, then you need to focus on developing fair compensation plans for ALL staff, current and new, and being transparent about your compensation policies.

We in the nonprofit sector must blaze the trail for equity, and not just thoughtlessly follow the ineffective and inequitable practices we inherited from the business world like a bunch of sign-spinning robots. #DownWithDOE. Tweet that, and let’s start to end this practice. Because every time we don’t list the salary range in a job posting, says one of my peers, “a unicorn cries.” It also loses its wings. You may be thinking, “But unicorns don’t have wings!” Yeah, well now we all know why.


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74 thoughts on “When you don’t disclose salary range on a job posting, a unicorn loses its wings

  1. Vickie K

    Thank you! I have been feeling this way forever and thought I was crazy! I have a job I love at a nonprofit and I am in no rush to get a new one. None of my coworkers understood why I still looked at job postings all the time. It’s because in order to get any good idea of what the average pay for my role is, so that I can negotiate at any future jobs, I have to spend months scouring job postings to find those rare few that will post a range. Thank you for articulating what I have been feeling for years!

  2. M_B_W

    This is a common problem I’ve seen working in arts administration.

    Some postings will make a position sound like it has lots of authority, responsibility and autonomy…and generally make it sound like a mid- or senior-level position…..only to disclose later that that they’re offering an entry level salary.

    I understand the financial/business reasons for not wanting to disclose salary….but why not save everyone the time if you’re going give something a fancy title but then pay them like a janitor?

  3. toriadoria

    I’ve also heard (on Ask a Manager comments, I think) hiring managers say that they don’t like to post a range because they often CAN go beyond the range if they find an amazing candidate, and they don’t want to discourage people who might be that amazing candidate from applying. I suppose that makes sense, but I think the reasons for including the range outweigh that potential risk.

    1. Andres

      The person who posted that must have never heard of someone like me. There was a range in the job posting, I requested the highest amount, and when given the offer, they made up a number that was higher than the advertised range. I thought it was good/weird. Then I remembered that a job posting isn’t a contract.

  4. Kathryn Dugal

    I could not agree more. It’s important that as nonprofits we work to be inclusive organizations that aren’t further marginalizing the populations we hope to serve. Thank you for vocalizing what we’ve all been thinking!

  5. Yvonne Freitas McGookin

    Hooray! Thank you for exposing this practice, Vu! As a HR professional who consults with nonprofit clients, I encourage folks to be transparent by posting their salary ranges for the very reasons you’ve mentioned above.

  6. Andrew

    Perfect. I want to give this link when I apply to places that ask salary history. But that raises a question: what do you recommend job candidates do when faced with a job posting that makes the request for salary history or expectations? For expectations I’ve usually tried to dodge it with something along the lines of “my expectations are in keeping with the standard salary ranges for a professional of my experience in [my city],” sometimes even citing those ranges. For history, it’s harder. The bizarre part is that the job poster holds all the power anyway; it honestly takes away nothing from them to post a relative range.

    1. jaebre

      For salary expectations, I have in the past said something in my cover letter along the lines of “My salary expectation is flexible, but somewhere between $X and $Y per year”.

      I think asking for salary expectations is an equally sh*tty tactic, along with asking for salary history and not posting a range. The employer is essentially asking you to bid a job without having all the specifics.

      You would never expect to be able to ask a contractor to give you a price on renovating your kitchen without letting them see it up close. Job listings give you a bit of an idea of responsibilities and organizational culture, but you also want to see the office and talk to some of your potential coworkers before deciding what you need in terms of money to do the job.

      As far as jobs that ask for salary history, I refuse to apply for them.

  7. Theresa Curry

    YEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! When I’ve been looking at jobs over the years there are a couple of orgs that always do this, and I just don’t apply because, as you said, I don’t want to potentially be wasting my time. I may work in nonprofit because I have a passion for this work, but I also have standards…I am a skilled and talented individual and I deserve fair pay. Even more importantly than that, rent in Seattle is crazy and I can’t do the job of finding housing for homeless people if I’m at the brink of homelessness myself due to your extremely low pay, so if you don’t list your pay I’m going to assume that it’s basically poverty level wages and not apply.

  8. Andrea Michelbach

    One thing I’ve done when confronted with this is email HR directly to ask what the hiring range is, explaining that I’m trying to determine if it makes sense for me to apply. Sometimes I get a response, sometimes not, but I like to think this practice helps make hiring managers more aware of the issue.

  9. verucaamish

    Holy cow YES! For those of us in grant-funded program management, we get to see the proposal and grant agreement telling the funder what you SAID you would pay for that position. Guess how I felt when I saw that the salary listed in the grant was $8K more than the salary we negotiated (the one the E.D. said was a stretch for him). The money has been committed, why not just have the salary reflect that? It left a bad taste in my life.

    1. Meri

      Salaries in grant proposal often include benefits– at very least cover the employer’s tax for the new employee. They can’t reflect what is paid out to the employee unless the org has another way to make up those costs.

  10. Ellie Lambert

    I am currently looking for a job, so this hits close to home. Lots of agencies have expressed interest in what I do (I am a community engagement specialist/advocate/cheerleader), but no one will tell me how much I will be making until after the second or third interview. Unfortunately, I’ve also learned that many nonprofits in my area seriously underpay their employees.. who are mostly women and minorities. You are right on with this topic.

  11. Julia Foster

    Thank you! As always, another brilliant post.

    I’ll add an additional thought from my own recent experience: While it is true that sometimes an organization might “reach” beyond their expected range to hire, because they believe the candidate to be exceptional, the reality is that it IS beyond the comfort range as provided by their budget. I’ve been in the unfortunate position where I pushed for what I thought I was worth (as any good negotiator should…and particularly as a female trying to keep some equity in the field). The hiring manager agreed to my salary, and then I heard nothing but gloom and doom from practically day one on the job about how the hiring manager had “overhired” on my team (there were other hires at the same time for which the hiring manager had gone beyond the comfort zone). The result? Budgets were doomed…as were the positions of several of us “overhired” staff.

    It serves neither the organization nor the employee if everyone feels pressured beyond the norm to perform. No human being can overcome the expected “ROI” if the salary was just never going to be comfortable for the organization. So I will no longer buy into the idea that organizations can or should go beyond their comfort zones. State the range with a DOE qualifier and be done with it.

  12. RachelAC

    Thank you for another frank post. I am also frustrated by the lack of transparency in the sector. My current organization DID include the salary range for my position when it was posted, and their transparency was one of the many things which attracted me.

    Pay ranges vary SO widely in the nonprofit sector (I see full-time ED’s making $25,000 to $100,000+ for small organizations) that listing a range is, I think, critical. using Guidestar and looking at tax forms, you can often find out the salaries for top-paid positions at nonprofits, and at small nonprofits this may include every employee…but I think many people don’t know about this and it doesn’t help at larger organizations where the C-Suite are paid so much more than everyone else.

    In the past, I have been in the position during an interview of having to defend my salary request, because it was was significantly higher than my ‘salary history.’ This position had not only not listed a salary range, but had also required that applicants submit their ‘Salary Requirements,’ and mine was probably higher than they were expecting. I didn’t back down in the interview; I defended my request and I ended up receiving the full amount. But, had I been in a different mindset that day I might have demurred and said something about it being “negotiable,” which would have ruined my chances at getting what was not an unreasonable amount.

    Because they were underpaid in the past – shouldn’t be a justification to underpay someone at your own organization! =)

  13. Patricia Garza

    I do think there is something about your point here that often internally orgs have not fixed their pay rates/titles and by posting it they may perk people’s ears and eyes inside the organization. BUT I 100% agree that it is frustrating and any good HR department would see this has a top priority in retention! Get it right inside and then start displaying that to the outside!

  14. drfinlay

    Won’t organisation culture have to change before DOE does?
    In the UK, public sector and third sector jobs are normally advertised publicly and the salary is usually in the advert. The job pack, which again there almost always is, will often have information about the rest of the benefits package. Sometimes, usually when a recruitment consultant is being used to fill a senior vacancy, the salary details are withheld from the advert. In that situation it is normal to ask what the salary is when speaking to the consultant. Very occasionally the consultant will refuse to give this information and sometimes the employer will say that more might be available to an “exceptional” candidate (of course we are all exceptional :-)).

    It isn’t perfect, but it is the way it is because of law and organisation culture. Disclosing this information is usually seen as good practice and part of HR policies on equal opportunity and diversity. We tend to pay staff doing the same type of work the same level of salary, because there is a traditional link (which has weakened in recent years) between national municipal government payscales and third sector pay. DOE speaks to differentiated pay which, in my experience, can really destroy staff morale.

    Also most third sector boards in the UK, upon securing their next CEO or COO, don’t see it as their role to game the candidate down to the lowest salary they can. If there is a scale then there might be a discussion about starting point.

    It strikes me though that a lot went into making this happen. What’s going to change things in north America, where the laws and culture are different?

  15. Melran

    Yet another fantastic post. Thanks for shining a light on so many sacred cow practices that are holding the whole nonprofit sector back and pushing us all to move beyond the status quo.

  16. Lauren Vesty

    Hi Vu – love this article! We’re focusing a lot on how we at LinkedIn can best serve the nonprofit hiring community as a whole, so I really appreciate hearing your perspective. (you can see some of the resources here – https://nonprofit.linkedin.com/).

    Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn – I’d love to hear your thoughts on what we can be doing better.

    1. Vu Le

      Lauren, sorry for this late response. It is really great to hear from someone from LinkedIn. Since you are a resource heavily relied on by professionals, nonprofits and for-profits, you have an influence on how people do think. It would be great if LinkedIn come up with a formal stance encouraging companies and organizations to disclose salaries in job postings.

  17. Michelle Winters

    Thank the nonprofit gods for this post! To me, the most important thing about the salary range is transparency. It sets the tone for open and honest communication, which, in a perfect world, is how all working relationships would start.

    Of course we all apply for jobs at nonprofits because we love the work, but we also have to balance our passion for service with the practicalities of daily life. It’s not worth wasting your time or the interviewer’s time if the salary won’t meet your needs.

    I was recently part of an interview team for a position where the salary was not disclosed. I didn’t think to ask about it before the interview, assuming that the supervisor of this position had that information. At the end of one of the interviews, the applicant asked what the salary range was, and the supervisor didn’t know! It felt really unprofessional and awkward, and I wish I could have pointed to this post then!


  18. Stacey S

    This hurts to read as I am currently struggling with my current job. I believe in the work we do but am having a hard time deciding if I need to start looking for a job because of my salary. They got me when I was young and stupid and I didn’t know how to negotiate. As I am starting to look at what my opportunities are out there if I looked for a new job, I am finding that it is hard to know whether to look in more detail because I am unsure if it will be better then where I am… Thank you so much for articulating what I had been struggling with for the past couple of months.

  19. Jenn

    Amen, Vu! I love all of your posts, but this one had me wanting to cheer from my cubicle.

  20. watering woman

    Everything you write applies to the for-profit world, too. People just don’t know how to hire.
    Liz Ryan of “the Human Workplace” (she must have a website; I see her on LinkedIn) had a great post about how to respond to the question of how much you’ve made before.

  21. Star D'Angelo

    I am the director of a small museum and after reading this, I plan to post salary information next time I need to hire someone. Like all small museum directors, I face a tremendous burden of responsibility: fundraising, programming, staff and board management etc. Employees may have valid complaints but it is important to recognize that Directors often do not have enough support either and many of us are also poorly compensated. It is time to work together to find solutions for these lingering resource and management problems. We can start by being more transparent, and honest while focusing on real solutions.

    1. kelly

      As someone who has been gaining work experience through volunteering in museums and wants to build a career in the heritage sector I am very aware and realistic of the lack of funding that any museum/heritage site receives as well as the competitiveness of the industry. However, like the article states I need to be realistic about my own financial situation, especially when for a lot of jobs I will either to a fair amount of travelling with my car or a flat out relocation. Particularity, when a lot of the jobs are in London. Employers are not the only one on a budget! So many people like myself would be grateful if all employers and not just in museums took that stance. I mean the whole reason why I did a Google search on this topic is because I have today found a dream position with a popular heritage site here in the UK. So for me it would be a big deal to apply for it, the only thing that is stopping me right now is that it does not disclose a salary and I notice in their job postings they list no salaries.

  22. Patrick Taylor

    Here, here. This is especially important in the nonprofit world where wages can differ dramatically from place to place, depending on funding/size of organization. Don’t tell someone who is expecting to make $100K that your job pays $50K weeks into the process. Very few people are so flexible that they can take a 50% pay cut if the job is super great.

    My wife was interviewing for for-profit jobs, and she had the same issue – there was a 40% difference in the salaries of the positions she was applying for, all for similar roles. She wasn’t going to take a 40% pay cut, and none of the places were THAT flexible. She was offered mostly single digit percentages more when she pushed, which wasn’t going to do much to make her able to take the job and still pay the bills.

    My experience is that organizations know the range they can pay. In rare circumstances, for certain positions at well-funded organizations, they may be willing to go way over that range for an amazing candidate. But in general, you know you have between $50-$60K allotted for this role. You are not going to pay someone $80k. And paying someone $45k just because that’s what they got paid at their last job is a cruddy thing to do.

  23. Marina

    Absolutely. Can we also talk about places that describe the job as mid- or senior-level (experience with supervision, advanced degree, etc) but pay under the local living wage? What are they thinking???

    1. dz0

      Some years ago I saw a posting in a mid-size city seeking a case worker, with an MSW, 2-3 years’ experience, Spanish/English bilingual, some nights and weekends required. Salary? $25,000. Hey, at least they listed it!

    2. Anoni Mouse

      They think its still mid recession and people will take any job they can.
      They are, in most areas, incorrect.

  24. David Stern

    Listing salary range is not usual for any jobs in the US. Salaries are never listed for professor positions for example.

    1. Erica_JS

      It might not be usual, but IT SHOULD BE. Everything said here applies to the for-profit sector as well.

  25. Celia Moreton

    This article is spot on. As a Development Director who supports herself and is currently looking for a new position, this would be most helpful. I will not waste my time nor that of an employer.

  26. Rita Ulrich

    Okay, I’m late to this discussion, but just learned about NWB. Several people alluded to employers that use salary history to justify underpaying people. Besides being unfair, it also perpetuates the gender pay gap (and likely racial disparities as well) – something that nonprofits should be working to solve, not continue.

    1. jaebre

      Employers also use it to weed out people they think are “too expensive”, which is kind of silly because the applicant may be willing to take a pay cut for the right position. The employer shoots itself in the foot either way.

  27. nicole

    I can think of no worse way to waste my time and yours. I have had a few interviews that have gone very well. The interviewer has gotten a little excited, but then discloses the salary range and I’ve had to politely decline any further discussion. I’ve wasted my time and so have they.

    On another note, stop paying people crap. I’m not asking anything crazy. But I definitely get what you pay for.

  28. GriseldaBean

    We have to do this (omit salary ranges in our postings) and it makes me NUTS. And our salary ranges are pretty fixed, so it’s not like posting them is going to surprise that many people already in-house. I really appreciate all the comments from people saying the don’t apply to positions without a salary posted, too, because i think some people here have this bizarre idea that being opaque somehow gets MORE people to apply (it does, if by “more” you mean “more folks who aren’t qualified.”

      1. GriseldaBean

        Good point. A more accurate statement would be “our exec team has decided to omit salary ranges in our postings; those of us who do the postings have to follow that directive.”

  29. Genevieve Mellott

    Totally! Side note: my niece would want me to share that there is indeed a breed of flying unicorn, the “unicorn pegasus” or “alicorn”. DOE is eradicating an entire species.

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  31. Ford Reese Church

    Any advice for explaining to offended new hires why they received the lower or middle of the salary range instead of the high end of the salary range we posted? This is one down side to posting salary ranges I have noticed…

    1. jaebre

      It’s fairly straightforward. The higher end of the salary range is for people who most closely match the ideal candidate profile for a specific position. The lower end is for people who aren’t as close of a match, but are still capable of doing the job and will undoubtedly learn and develop more as they go along. Once they have some accomplishments under their belt, they can certainly ask for a merit increase.

      Another part of this whole salary puzzle is that colleges do a bad job (if they even try at all) of teaching people how to negotiate for salaries and benefits. I have two degrees in business from reasonably good schools, and never once did I have a lesson about negotiating.

      One thing I explain to my younger colleagues is that, in the future, they need to take the opportunity to ask for more money when they receive a job offer. When you receive a job offer, it means you are the number one choice of the employer at that very moment. But the moment is fleeting. Once you say “yes” to the offer, you’re locked in. In the time between receiving the offer and saying “yes”, you have the power. Unless the employer is only concerned about your pricetag, there is little danger in trying to up the ante a little bit. We’re conditioned from a young age to say “yes” when someone offers us something nice. To do otherwise is seen as rude.

      The average employer wants the best talent at the lowest price. But at the end of the day, what they really want is the best talent.

      So if a new hire asks you why they got the low to middle part of the salary range, you can give them this lesson. Tell them they could have asked for more. Tell them to ask for more once they have some accomplishments behind them. Tell them that any open position generates a wide range of applicants with various levels of education and experience, and the organization needs the salary flexibility to attract someone with a lot of education and experience should such a candidate apply for the position.

  32. Katrina Rose

    Two years ago I was effectively eliminated from consideration during an interview for a transgender-centric quasi-academic position (my dissertation is on transgender legal history) – with an entity that at that time I had respect for – because I had the gall to ask what the salary was for the position I was applying for. When I brought up the subject of compensation, the five people conducting the interview all looked at me like I’d tossed a puppy into a blender and hit puree.

    It must be nice to be so privileged with (apparently permanent) employment that you will never have to ever again be concerned with such menial things as how a job that would entail you moving several hundred miles away might impact your spouse and, in turn, never have to ever again be so socially unacceptable as to want to know whether the salary for the job you’re applying for would be worth any problems that a move (with or without a spouse) would cause.

  33. Dmalfi

    I totally agree with this. I’ve been driven crazy by job postings with no salary. Yet I post jobs with no salary. I just don’t have enough money in my budget to offer a competitive salary. I dont list the salary and pray someone will want to work for us so much they will be willing to take a pay cut just like I did. I’m not sure what the solution is. Off to try and raise more money so I can pay better salaries.

  34. Melissa B

    Let’s also start to discuss a certain donor which perpetuates this salary history inequity by not allowing their contractors to offer staff more than a 10% increase and will fight anything over 5% AND sometimes specifies in contracts no increases over a 5 year project … but their government still talks about reducing the salary gender gap????

    This isn’t just about the expat staff. I was on a project and hiring an awesome person who had worked for local ngos so their salary was crazy low (not even 1/5th of similar colleagues on the program) it took a month or more of arguing with the donor to get them to approve the “increase” while at the same time not even blinking at salaries that should have been seen as ridiculous but were acceptable because they were less than a 10% increase

  35. A$AP Crème Brûlée

    Thank you for saying that women and POC are punished for negotiating, and not that it is our fault for not negotiating more.
    There are all these programs telling women “go in and ask for more!!! YOU DON’T ASK!” and that is all fine and good if you will be really well protected by a union, or if the person you negotiate with from HR doesn’t make decisions about your job in the future, but for many roles women will be punished or even let go later because they are seen as too aggressive. So that doesn’t help you make more money in the long run!

    1. Alicia

      Exactly. And most protected/unionized jobs are male-dominated (police, firefighters, electricians, etc.) and pay very good salaries/benefits while most female-dominated (childcare workers, cleaners) are not unionized and pay crap money/benefits.

      1. J. Lindsay Brown

        I’ve started asking for salary/pay rates before I will go to an interview. I’m honest and just explain that I want this to be useful for everyone. If they can’t handle that then it wasn’t going to be a good match. My husband has been MUCH less bold and has therefore wasted time interviewing and finding out the pay was plain stupid. I honestly believe a lot of people are getting this garbage across the board.

  36. cybrarian_ca

    Legally, the place I used to work for was forbidden by state law (crazy, I know) from posting its salaries, yet all salary ranges were available in our contract, which was posted to the union website adn easily findable, and individual salaries were listed by name on a statewide sunshine database. We don’t ask for things to make sense …

      1. cybrarian_ca

        Don’t ask. It made zero sense, but that was typical. You could Google the contract and find all the salary ranges for each level, but we were not legally allowed to place the salary in any job advertisements. I suspect it may have been because the salary ranges were, in some types of positions, not the end of the amount you could make. It was an academic institution, and some salaries in some disciplines are supplemented by other funds, like research funds. So in some disciplines that were heavy on research, you’d have the base salary of X, plus additional funds from the research foundation. In other disciplines, the base salary was the salary.

    1. Anoni Mouse

      “I will not be providing salary history.” If it disqualifies you from the position, they are disreputable were only looking for the information so they could offer you less than other candidates.

  37. Lindsay Williambrown

    Beautiful. Thank you! As a former nonprofit consultant who used to tell clients they needed to pay workers better (because we in social service are supposed to be trying to empower folks, not perpetuating unfair wages!), I finally moved into the for-profit sector because I could not watch the rapacious behavior of price-gouging anymore. When I lived in England, every job posting had compensation listings, for all the reasons you are mentioning. It’s good business. Wasted employee time costs the organization money, nevermind its ethical implications. Thank you, I could respond to this all day!

  38. Alicia

    Say it again a little louder for the people in the back!!!! Not sure why this is written specifically with the nonprofit sector in mind, as everything said also applies to the for-profit sector. Btw, as a professional in my industry, I don’t waste my time on pursuing job ads without a salary (or at least a salary range) listed.

  39. Stephanie Roth

    Just saw this posting today even though you wrote it a couple of years ago. Love it and have been ranting about this very thing for years. Thanks, Vu Le, for writing it!

  40. Iris Kavanagh

    Great post. I was having a conversation with a colleague today about not disclosing salaries in job postings and was happy to find this blog just now, while I was searching for something related. I don’t work in the non-profit sector, but I do a lot of hiring for clients and I can say with confidence that this is an issue across the HR world. For some reason people think it’s better to not disclose salary and they are just plain wrong. Thanks for writing about so many of the problems in the hiring process. I try really hard to do right by people when hiring!

  41. Watwatwat

    For software developers, the range could easily be 50k-150k depending on experience. People on the lower end might well not apply if they saw that.

    That said, it should be made clear near the start what range is being talked about even if it might not make sense in the listing.

  42. J. Lindsay Brown

    Yes! My husband had actually had all of these issues, race and gender notwithstanding. He had been seeing it in non-profit and for profit settings as well. So glad to hear it called out as BS

  43. Anne DeMeter

    I completely agree with this! As a job hunter, I look at jobs and then I have to go to salary.com to get a general idea of what the job will pay. Making an uneducated guess, I never really know what the pay scale is and so often, I apply for jobs that aren’t even close to what I need to make. My time, their time, the time of everyone involved is wasted! If they would post a scale, I will know whether I want to apply or not. I will also know that Bob, or Jane or anyone else applying for this job will also be within that scale. This is a MUST DO! Pass it on!

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