The best and worst sectors, regions and cities for pay transparency revealed

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Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

The best and worst sectors, regions and cities for pay transparency revealed

  • 14 Sep 2021
  • |

    Nearly 4 in 10 UK job ads, over 366,000 jobs, are advertised without a salary despite growing calls for pay transparency, according to new research from smarter job search engine Adzuna.

  • Statistics
    • 4 in 10 UK jobs ads posted without a salary, despite calls for better pay transparency
    • Scientific & QA, Retail, and Creative & Design are the worst offenders; Charity & Voluntary, Social Work, and Manufacturing are most transparent on pay
    • Skills shortage sectors Logistics & Warehouse and Healthcare & Nursing becoming more open about pay to try and attract new talent
    • Northern Ireland is the least transparent UK region with 73% of job ads missing vital salary data; East Midlands is most transparent with 27.1% of ads lacking a salary
    • Belfast, Salford and London are the most secretive cities, while Swindon, Rochdale and Preston are most transparent
    • Companies championing transparency in UK include Desana, MadeTech & Codurance

    Nearly 4 in 10 UK job ads, over 366,000 jobs, are advertised without a salary despite growing calls for pay transparency, according to new research from smarter job search engine Adzuna

    The research analysed 1.9 million UK job ads advertised in H1 2021 and H1 2020 to highlight the sectors offering the greatest salary transparency, those that are improving, and the biggest offenders.

    Despite growing calls for pay transparency, the proportion of job ads not disclosing a salary increased between 2020 and 2021 from 35.1% to 35.5%. A total of 366,537 jobs from 1,033,263 failed to disclose a salary per month in H1 2021, up from 296,327 out of 843,813 in H1 2020.

    Scientific & QA tops the list as the worst offending sector, with a whopping 6 out of 10 job ads (60.3%) not giving a salary range. Retail (55.1%) and Creative & Design (52.5%) also disclose salaries less than half of the time.

    By comparison, the most transparent sectors are Charity & Voluntary (just 11.6% of job ads without a salary), Social work (16.5%), Manufacturing (19.8%), and Logistics & Warehouse (20.1%).

    In cases where salaries aren’t posted online, jobseekers can use Adzuna’s jobsworth tool to receive an estimate of the salary they can expect from a role, simply by entering the job description of the role they’re applying for.

    Skills shortage sectors improve salary transparency

    Salary transparency has improved within several sectors struggling to hire, as employers work harder to attract new talent.

    Logistics & Warehouse has seen the biggest improvement, with the proportion of job ads without a salary falling 16.3 percentage points year-on-year from 36.4% to 20.1%. The last week of August (23rd – 29th) saw 106,072 advertised vacancies in this sector, up from 45,867 in the same week last year. Some employers are going even further and offering significant cash signing bonuses, for example Amazon is offering £1,000 to new UK joiners.

    Healthcare & Nursing has also made strides towards more transparency, with the number of job ads without a salary falling 14.9 percentage points year-on-year from 43.8% to 28.9%. Hospitality & Catering, another sector struggling to fill roles, has also seen improvements, down 3.4 percentage points to 45.3%, but there remains plenty of room for improvement.

    The sectors going backwards

    By comparison, business services sectors including PR, Consultancy, and IT all saw a decline in pay transparency. The proportion of job ads without a salary increased 11.6 percentage points year-on-year in PR, from 38.0% to 49.6%. Just behind, the proportion of Consultancy job ads without a salary rose 11.4 percentage points from 36.9% to 48.3%. Customer Services (up 11.3pp) and IT (up 10.9pp) also saw falling rates of salary disclosure.

    Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job search engine Adzuna, comments: “Four out of ten UK job ads are still being posted without a salary range, despite calls for greater pay transparency. This can be a major turn off for jobseekers who don’t want to waste time applying for a role that may not pay them what they’re worth. More seriously, it can also perpetuate existing salary biases as offers made to successful candidates for roles without published salaries are often based on existing earnings, rather than their skills and experience. This can often mean lower offers for women or ethnic minorities, perpetuating pay inequality.

    “We’ve seen positive progress in industries that are struggling to hire, with the Logistics & Warehouse and Healthcare & Nursing sectors getting better at publishing pay rates. But there is still much more that can be done to improve salary transparency across the board.”

    The most secretive UK regions and cities

    The research also analysed the regions and cities that are most and least transparent on pay. Northern Ireland is the biggest perpetrator, with 72.7% of job ads missing vital salary information in H1 2021. Scotland and London were also top offenders, with 46.4% and 46.0% of job ads omitting pay ranges respectively.

    The East Midlands is the most transparent region with just 27.1% of job ads missing salary information.

    Delving deeper into city data, Belfast is by far the most secretive city in the UK, with 86.3% of job ads omitting salary data, followed by Salford (49.6%) and London (46.0%). By contrast, Swindon is most upfront about pay, disclosing a salary in all but 17.6% of job ads. Rochdale (22.1%) and Preston (22.4%) round out the top three most transparent UK cities.

    The most transparent employers

    Several US tech giants have shouted loudly for some time about the benefits of pay transparency, including BufferGitLab and Tandem, and this trend is now crossing the pond to the UK. 

    UK-based companies leading the charge on salary transparency, include:

    Andrew Hunter, co-founder of job search engine Adzuna, comments: “Buffer started the movement for pay transparency and now several other European start-ups are sitting up and taking notice. In a jobs market where talent is in hot demand and a lot of companies are fishing in the same ponds for skilled workers, making salaries publicly available can work as a major recruitment draw. It’s also a great way to eliminate bias and close gender and ethnicity pay gaps. As a society, we’re moving towards greater transparency – ethnicity reporting is set to be the next big trend – so we expect open salaries to become even more widespread.”

    Vicky Vitkay, general manager of Work in Startups, comments: “Salaries can be a bit of a taboo topic, but transparency could be a great way to gain some competitive advantage for attracting and retaining people. It seems to be those companies who choose to be transparent are the ones actively trying to close the pay gap which is great, however with fewer women in higher positions there’s a lack of evidence on whether this can in fact make a positive impact.”

    Table 1: Proportion of jobs without a salary — by industry

    Sector

    % of job ads without a salary – H1 2021

    % of job ads without a salary – H1 2020

    Percentage point change

    Charity & Voluntary

    11.6%

    14.8%

    -3.3

    Social work

    16.5%

    22.3%

    -5.8

    Manufacturing

    19.8%

    26.1%

    -6.3

    Logistics & Warehouse

    20.1%

    36.4%

    -16.3

    Teaching

    21.5%

    20.4%

    1.1

    Property

    23.2%

    24.3%

    -1.1

    Graduate

    26.9%

    32.8%

    -6.0

    Maintenance

    27.6%

    37.6%

    -10.0

    Admin

    28.4%

    26.2%

    2.3

    Healthcare & Nursing

    28.9%

    43.8%

    -14.9

    Engineering

    31.6%

    35.2%

    -3.6

    Travel

    34.7%

    50.1%

    -15.4

    All UK ads

    35.5%

    35.1%

    0.4

    Sales

    35.7%

    30.0%

    5.7

    HR & Recruitment

    37.1%

    33.9%

    3.3

    Trade & Construction

    39.5%

    30.2%

    9.3

    Customer Services 

    40.4%

    29.1%

    11.3

    Energy

    40.8%

    52.7%

    -11.9

    Accounting & Finance 

    42.0%

    32.7%

    9.3

    Legal

    44.9%

    41.2%

    3.7

    Hospitality & Catering 

    45.3%

    48.7%

    -3.4

    Domestic help & Cleaning 

    46.0%

    42.6%

    3.5

    IT

    46.1%

    35.2%

    10.9

    Consultancy 

    48.3%

    36.9%

    11.4

    PR

    49.6%

    38.0%

    11.6

    Creative & Design 

    52.5%

    47.5%

    5.0

    Retail

    55.1%

    54.7%

    0.5

    Scientific & QA

    60.3%

    59.4%

    0.9

     

    Table 2: Proportion of jobs without a salary — by region

    Region

    % of job ads without a salary – H1 2021

    Northern Ireland

    72.7%

    Scotland

    46.4%

    London

    46.0%

    Wales

    36.8%

    North East England

    34.0%

    South West England

    32.8%

    Eastern England

    31.6%

    North West England

    31.1%

    South East England

    30.7%

    West Midlands

    28.2%

    Yorkshire And The Humber

    27.8%

    East Midlands

    27.1%

     

    Table 3: The 10 cities most secretive about pay

    City

    % of job ads without a salary – H1 2021

    Belfast

    86.3%

    Salford

    49.6%

    London

    46.0%

    Reading

    45.0%

    Cambridge

    41.7%

    Stevenage

    40.8%

    Swansea

    38.7%

    Plymouth

    37.9%

    Birmingham

    35.8%

    Sunderland

    34.3%

     

    Table 4: The 10 cities most transparent about pay

    City

    % of job ads without a salary – H1 2021

    Swindon

    17.6%

    Rochdale

    22.1%

    Preston

    22.4%

    Bradford

    23.0%

    Northampton

    23.7%

    Luton

    23.7%

    Worcester

    25.0%

    Sheffield

    26.3%

    Derby

    26.5%

    Chelmsford

    26.7%


    Jobseekers looking to see how much they may be paid in a role should visit Adzuna’s Jobsworth tool, which uses AI and machine learning to estimate the current market value for job ads that don’t advertise a salary range.

    To try out Adzuna’s Jobsworth tool, please visit: https://www.adzuna.co.uk/jobs/salary-predictor.html