Pay Transparency Crisis: UK Employers Conceal Salaries as Wages Surge

Pay Transparency Crisis: UK Employers Conceal Salaries as Wages Surge

UK Employers Conceal Salaries as Wages Surge

UK Employers Conceal Salaries as Wages Surge

UK Employers Conceal Salaries as Wages Surge

Amidst a significant increase in UK wages, an increasing number of employers are choosing not to disclose salary information. This trend coincides with a time when the inclusion of such critical information in job adverts has hit a seven-year low.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released data indicating that regular pay, excluding bonuses, witnessed a 7.2% increase between February and April 2023. This represents the most substantial growth since the onset of the pandemic.

However, in contrast, data from job search engine Adzuna shows an alarming trend where employers are electing not to disclose salary information during hiring processes. A mere 51.5% of UK job ads revealed an intended salary or salary range in April, marking a nearly 10% drop compared to the same period last year.

Such a trend can likely be attributed to the prevailing uncertainty within the business landscape, as employers grapple with rising overheads without jeopardising recruitment.

However, as the cost of living soars, workers are increasingly seeking salaries that can keep pace. As such, the calculated opacity around pay in job adverts could become a significant obstacle to successful hiring.

Adzuna’s analysis of 80 million UK job postings from 2016 to April 2023 reveals that industries experiencing the most significant labour shortages are also the most secretive about pay transparency. The retail sector was identified as the least transparent, with only 26.8% of job ads including salary details in April 2023.

This lack of transparency comes despite the retail sector experiencing the highest staff turnover rates last year. The professional, scientific, and technical sectors aren’t far behind, with just 29.3% of job adverts disclosing wage information.

The current absence of laws requiring businesses to disclose salary details has led to growing concerns. Pay transparency is not just important for attracting new hires, but it is also crucial for keeping long-term employees motivated.

According to, 78% of workers in England view salary openness positively, and 74% argue that it fosters a fairer environment for all employees. Pay transparency can help to address wage disparities and build trust among teams, leading to increased employee engagement and perceived value.

The ONS report highlights the struggle businesses face in recruiting competitively without jeopardising their budgets. It also suggests that employers may be deliberately omitting wage details from job adverts to discourage salary negotiations during hiring.

However, such strategies could backfire, dissuading potential applicants and leading to a mismatch in the recruitment process. Pay transparency can help applicants better understand the roles and responsibilities they are applying for, while also making the process more efficient.

Dan Hudson, founder of GiGL, a video-first job platform, asserts that salary transparency is a priority for job applicants and therefore an essential criterion for employers to post job openings on their platform.

The Workers Union Says…

“In light of these findings, the current strategy of obscuring pay information appears to be counterproductive and could potentially cost more than the price of salary increases. It’s high time for businesses to reassess their recruitment strategies, prioritise pay transparency, and foster a more equitable and open employment landscape”.

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