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No salary, no app: job seekers talk passing on listings with no range

And it’s not just Gen Z either – many will pass on a listing without a salary range disclosed. But there’s an opportunity here too.

A woman sitting in a warm morning room sipping coffee and petting a soft brown dog while she looks at her computer for job salary listings.

A lot of job descriptions are highly detailed, including lists of what the job includes, expectations, perks, and several other aspects of the position. However, often, a massively important component of the job is left out: salary. According to Zip Recruiter’s chief economist Julia Poliak, only around 12% of US-based job postings include a salary range. That number isn’t necessarily surprising, but it feels WAY too low, considering just how many job listings are posted daily. 

What’s the Deal? 

There’s actually a lot to unpack here, so get comfortable. A story that’s now gone viral claims that Gen Z job-seekers aren’t even applying to positions that don’t list salary. If you’ve heard of the Gen Z “anti-work” movement, you’re probably not surprised. 

Diving deeper into this, there’s much more under the surface that wasn’t mentioned or was greatly misinterpreted in the story. This IS a newer move, regardless of the seemingly dwindling job market and hopelessness that some are feeling when it comes to applying to positions. Sure, some apply to anything, even if it doesn’t include salary (honestly, most of us have been there, right?)  

The thing is, based on recent opinions given by thousands of Redditers and a poll conducted by Remote Digital Jobs (a Facebook group from The American Genius), people from all generations are taking part in this. People from other generations are chiming in and giving their reasons for not applying to jobs that don’t list salary, and many have strong opinions on the idea. 

“Job hunting is a time-consuming volume game. I found myself just straight-up not applying unless some kind of salary or salary range was listed.” 

“It’s much harder to swindle them if we have to tell them the truth ahead of time.” 

“Dang we can’t trick people into working for sub-livable wages anymore?” 

In RDJ’s poll, the majority voted that they recently stopped applying to jobs that aren’t transparent about salary, with the next highest number of votes coming from those who are still debating on whether they’ll continue doing it. A few of the top comments say: 

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“I won’t waste my time if there isn’t even a ballpark. But I am currently employed. If I needed a job, I might not care.” 

“I’m at a place right now where it’s totally not worth applying for a job unless I know upfront it’s worth my time.” 

“I have always been very reluctant and distrusting of roles that are not transparent about salary, but out of desperation and/or curiosity and/or just to practice, I sometimes apply” 

A poll created by Lani Rosales in Remote Digital Jobs Facebook group. The top answer at 38% says "I'm still debating whether or not to apply to roles that aren't transparent about salary", with the second most voted answer at 37% saying, "I recently stopped applying to roles that aren't transparent about salary".

The people have spoken (and are continuing to speak.) Regardless of exactly who said what, though, it seems there’s a common issue shared among every generation applying to jobs: we recognize that some employers just don’t care to be transparent about salary. This mindset among businesses is proving to turn potential workers off almost instantaneously, no matter how old they are. Regardless of changing laws and policies, there are businesses that will do anything for a few extra bucks — and still blame the candidate for “not doing enough research.” 

Small business owners — this is a great time for you to step in and stand out. If you’re looking to attract talent and not turn potential employees off before they’re even hired, do the research on salary bands for your geography and make them available to the public. Though it may feel like you’re putting yourself in a place of vulnerability to give that insight to competitors, the right attention will come.

Macie LaCau is a passionate writer, herbal educator, and dog enthusiast. She spends most of her time overthinking and watering her tiny tomatoes.

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