I have been an IT recruiter for more than 20 years now (exclusively within Healthcare IT for the last 10 or so) before starting to work with Healthcare IT Central. A lot has changed since I started in this business. However, one thing that I am surprised has not changed is how secretive companies can be when it comes to the salary of positions they are hoping to fill.
For some reason, that information is usually only disclosed when they have a candidate who has already applied for the position. How is a prospective candidate supposed to know whether they should be pursuing this position or not? Are you really expected to formally apply for a position without even knowing this critical info? What if it pays less than your current job? Or is not enough of a difference to justify making the move? Why the big secret, Employer X?
If you are working through an outside recruiter (agency recruiter, headhunter, call us whatever you would like…) then they typically have some salary info about the position, but it can sometimes be inaccurate. After all, they are not an employee of the company either. They are an outside agency paid a commission if (and only if) they present a candidate who ends up going to work for that company.
A reason I have been told by managers as to why we can’t openly advertise the salary of a position is that it might upset current team members if they see the info. For example, the company may realize that in order to attract new employees with hard to find skills (like a full-time employee Epic certified analyst with specific build experience) the company may need to offer salaries that are higher than some of their current team members, even though those team members may have more experience than the potential new candidates. Not good – It essentially is admitting that they have some valuable employees who are now being paid below their current market value. In addition to their recruiting, they should proactively be moving those employees up in salary.
So in order to improve hiring and retention of the most valuable people in your team, I am all for more transparency and for paying more than the competition. In his recent article, George McFerran talked about embracing the use of salary as a competitive advantage relative to your competition.
Essentially, pay the best wages and then openly disclose them in your job descriptions. I agree 100%!
But what will CIOs, CFOs, and CEOs have to say about all this “raise the salaries” talk? Perhaps concern about starting an escalation / salary war with other companies? Well when you lose an employee it takes hundreds of hours of recruiting and interviewing time for all people involved, plus recruiting/advertising costs, and huge lost productivity in their absence. Plus it hurts the morale of remaining team members, and puts more burden on them. Why not pay salaries that are slightly more than the competition in the area? The benefit and return-on-investment will far outweigh the incremental costs.
There are certainly a number of other factors that contribute to attracting and retaining the best people, but salary is a biggie. Pay well, and then tell the world about it!