To Post or not to Post (the salary!)

Posted: 23/09/2019 11:33:53 AM by WorkInCulture editor | with 0 comments

Dollar signs in talking bubbles with Job board logo

Written by: Karen Ennis, General Manager, WorkInCulture

There’s lots going on in the HR realm these days, and one particularly contentious subject is pay transparency. It may soon be mandatory for employers to include a salary range when advertising and recruiting for a position. But as the law concerning this is in limbo, let’s leave all the legalities aside for the moment.

In the arts and culture and especially the not-for-profit arts and culture sector, there is lots of catching up to do regarding fair compensation. This is very much due to financial restrictions and instability (e.g. relying on funding programs and project grants). In the not so distant past, people accepted a lower salary because they love the work or the discipline. A status quo was formed.

Today, many arts and culture institutions may be embarrassed by their low salary ranges. And when it is time to recruit for an open position management might feel that posting a salary range is an invasion of privacy, adversely affecting both old and new employees. When longstanding employees leave, management thinks that they will have to increase a salary in order to attract new talent. But making this public is not good for morale for the established staff. A mutiny will ensue!

What to do?

Organizations should deal first and foremost with internal equity. Job descriptions should be reviewed annually and fair compensation for all should be in place. Going forward, being transparent, and paying fairly is the only possible choice. Human resources are treasured resources, and it must be a priority to pay people fairly. Easier said than done, you say? Well, of course, change like this cannot happen overnight. But what pay transparency does is help you, as a senior director, manager or owner, begin to get your house in order by addressing any internal inequity. This is something to keep top of mind when you begin strategic planning and budgeting.

And the longterm effect will be beneficial. When people feel that they are being treated fairly, they in turn feel more loyal, happier with their positions, and stay put longer.

From a logistics point of view, when you are recruiting, posting a salary or salary range ensures that your time, and job seekers time, is not wasted. You have fewer resumes to review when people know in advance what the organization expects to pay. You reach your target audience. This in no way precludes the art of negotiation, but it just shortens the dance!

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