How to determine the salary range for your job advert

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If you’re in charge of recruitment then your job advert needs to be as good as possible in order to attract the best and brightest candidates.

Now, more than ever, that means you need to include a salary range on your vacancy listing. More people in the workforce now expect salary ranges or figures to be included – and it’s been proven that a salary range on a job vacancy increases both the number and diversity of applications you’ll receive.

And with so much salary data out in the world thanks to sites like Glassdoor, potential candidates will likely do their research and find out about your company’s pay offer anyway.

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There’s plenty to think about when putting together a salary range, with internal and external factors all playing an important part – so we’ve gathered together the key factors right here.

We’ve got more advertising help on offer beyond salary calculations. Look no further if you want to read about the most important aspects of an applicant’s resume – and head here for our verdict on 2022’s biggest job market trends.

The wider job market

If you want to start figuring out how much you should offer for a particular job, you should start by examining the conditions in the wider market.

If other businesses in your region or city operate in your industry, look them up on job sites such as Glassdoor, scour their job adverts, and gather as much salary data as possible. This is key, because it can help you offer a competitive salary when your vacancy lines up with similar positions elsewhere – and your salary needs to be competitive or better than those offered by other companies to help convince applicants to send their resumes.

Living costs

If you’re hiring for a position in the office then you need to bear in mind the local cost of living – because if your company is based in an expensive area and the salary range is low, people just won’t be able to apply and maintain their lifestyles in the new location.

It’s not necessarily just about your local living costs, either. More jobs are now fully remote, which means you may have to factor national and even international living costs into your salary range calculations.

The qualifications required

If you’re advertising for a role where people need degrees or specialist qualifications, you will have to include a higher salary range in your job advert.

People with elevated levels of education or extra industry certifications can leverage that expertise into higher salaries, and they’ll be more in demand in the wider industry – so you should raise your salary range to ensure that high-quality candidates still consider your company.

This rule also applies if you need to hire a specialist. People who can fill specialist and niche roles can demand higher salaries because their skills are rarer, and your salary range will have to rise to reflect this.

The experience you need

Similarly, you need to consider what level of experience you need from your new employee. If you’re willing to hire a younger staff member who may need extra training and guidance, then you can use a slightly lower salary range on your advert – perhaps towards the bottom end of the data you gathered when you scoured the rest of the industry.

This isn’t just because less experienced staff members are happier to accept a lower pay range; it also reflects the fact that the lower range will be bolstered by extra costs because you’ll have to invest in training for your latest staff member.

This flips the other way too, though. You’ll have to offer to pay more if you want highly experienced people to apply to your open position.

Company benefits

Does your business have a fantastic benefits package full of high-value items like medical cover, a great pension scheme and subsidized or free food and drink? That’s not just a great bonus for your staff members – it also adds value to your job application. A top-notch benefits package means you can consider lowering your salary range, because applicants will be more willing to consider a reduced salary if the benefits add loads of extra value in other areas.

On the other end of the scale, if your organization has an underwhelming benefits package then you’re going to have to work harder to attract applicants – and that means a higher salary range.

Existing salaries

You can’t list a salary range on a job advert without considering what people at your company are already earning. You’ve got to analyze what existing staff members in similar roles are earning to avoid over- or under-paying people and stepping on their toes – if you don’t do that, you’re bound to encounter difficulties in the workplace.

You’ve also got to remember that your company may use salary bands to separate levels of seniority or provide a progression framework through the business. If your organization does have a structure in place, the range you list on your forthcoming advert must stay within those boundaries.

Your budget

You may want to offer a huge salary to attract the best possible talent to your open vacancies, but that’s not going to work if your HR department or the wider business has tightened budgets or had to announce a hiring freeze.

Ultimately, you’re going to have to work within your company’s existing budgets when planning a salary range unless you can convince important people to free up some cash. If not, you may have to accept listing a lower salary range and accepting a different pool of applicants as a result.

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Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has written for most of the UK’s big technology titles alongside numerous global outlets. He loves PCs, laptops and any new hardware, and covers everything from the latest business trends to high-end gaming gear.