Industry article

A candidate short market: Are your salary brackets costing you talent?

Photo of Jade Brar-Haase
Jade Brar-Haase
Posted on 07 Feb 2023 · 6 mins read

Potential candidates now have the bargaining power and have a refreshed set of expectations with regards to elements they consider to be ‘deal breakers’ such as flexible working and salary. So, what can you do to attract the very best engineering candidates and gain a competitive edge?

There is no doubt that we are now in a candidate short market where jobs are rife and competition for the best talent is fierce. As a result, businesses are having to work harder to attract the people they need. This requires a mindset shift for businesses and recruiters alike to attract and retain these vital, highly-skilled hires. Potential candidates now have the bargaining power and have a refreshed set of expectations with regards to elements they consider to be ‘deal breakers’ such as flexible working and salary. So, what can you do to attract the very best candidates and gain a competitive edge?

Why Salary Transparency Matters

In this increasingly competitive job market, businesses must ensure they are not only delivering the best possible candidate experience, but perhaps more importantly, giving individuals what they want. We are constantly seeing job adverts that do not disclose what candidates class as vital information – namely salary brackets. Too often job applications are not disclosing salary information. In fact, according to LinkedIn’s Global Trends report, 51% of companies don’t share their remuneration ranges with candidates and don’t plan to do so soon.

In such a candidate short market, there is nothing more frustrating for both parties than going through a lengthy interview process and getting to the crucial negotiation stage, only to find your salary brackets are miles apart in range. It can stop any negotiation in its tracks and leave a bad impression for the individual who might not only be perfect for this role, but also potentially for a future position.

More so than ever before, candidates value transparency when it comes to job applications and need to know what they are signing up for before any interview process even begins. Employers simply can’t ignore that fact that 97% of job seekers stated that having salary ranges included in a job application is one of the most helpful pieces of information to be able to access, according to a recent Glassdoor survey. To avoid any ill-feeling between a candidate and your business, it is important to disclose the salary range as early as possible for the chosen role, particularly in sectors where talent is in short supply and salary ranges can be the tipping point that encourages people to apply for a role.

Gender Pay Gap

In one of our recent blogs, we discussed pay bands and the lack of transparency on pay which disproportionately disadvantages women in comparison to their male. Another key reason to disclose salary ranges and why your salary brackets may be costing you top talent is the issue of the gender pay gap. For potential female applicants, a lack of transparency around pay brackets can be a cause for concern when it comes to equal pay. By being completely open about your company’s remuneration caps for roles in the job advert and during the interview stage, you will be cementing your commitment to fair pay regardless of gender and will likely increase application numbers. And, of course, you’ll be able to better reduce the gender pay imbalance in your business. In fact, research from Columbia Business School shows that companies who disclose their salaries reduce the pay gap by up to 7%.


Having competitive salary brackets can also help you stand out from the crowd. You may be offering higher rates than your key competitors, but candidates won’t know unless you’re being transparent from the start.

Of course, remuneration alone isn’t the only bargaining tool at your disposal. It’s important to ensure you’re promoting the additional benefits that your staff can access (and considering what could be invested in to aid talent attraction) including:

  • Increased paid time off (mental health days, sick days, and holiday days)
  • Childcare benefits
  • Gym memberships or discounts
  • Health & Wellness programmes
  • Employee recognition programs
  • Workplace perks

Finding staff in a candidate short market: Using expert guidance

For skill-short specialisms, recruitment efficiency is crucial, but quite often it is the small things that can have the greatest impact. Those that are struggling to attract talent may find that simply adding salary brackets to job adverts can improve application numbers. Whatever your hiring challenge, Murray McIntosh can help ensure your business can access the people it needs on a contract or permanent basis.

For more information, or to discuss your hiring needs, contact us.

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