Article Published on 16-03-2021

A good salary is important, but it is not mentioned in many vacancies

Nowadays, there are many ways to attract employees. One such way is the use of pull factors. Intelligence Group’s Labour Market Behaviour Survey (AGO) shows that the appeal of pull factors differs not only at target group level but also between certain groups based on gender, age and education level. It also shows that what employees value most is often not mentioned.

The survey showed, among other things, that:
•    An increasing number of employers are specifying a salary in job advertisements;
•    A good salary, a permanent contract and a good working atmosphere are the three most important pull factors;
•    A transparent salary structure increases productivity and commitment.

The employer fails to meet the job seeker’s wishes

For 55% of the Dutch Labour Force, a good salary is one of the most important reasons for choosing an employer. The fact that this is at the top of the list of important pull factors has not changed for quite some time. Despite this fact, there still appears to be a considerable gap between what attracts employees and what employers present in their vacancy texts. A survey by Jobdigger shows that of all the vacancies posted, 26% actually state a salary. Even though this percentage has increased, especially in 2020, a large proportion of vacancies still do not contain any indication of the most important pull factor.

A positive trend

However, the percentage of vacancies stating the salary has been rising in recent years. In 2019, the number of vacancies stating a salary was just 18%. The fact that this percentage has risen sharply in 2020 may be a direct or indirect consequence of the corona crisis or may have arisen due to the scarcity on the labour market and the competition between employers that this entails. The recently rolled-out Google for Jobs and the ranking it applies can also be an incentive for employers to start including a salary indication in vacancies. Stating a salary is highly valued by the platform and can give an employer an edge over competitors who do not. Moreover, stating salary in job advertisements is, of course, also a way of paying attention to the much-discussed gender pay gap and thus breaking the salary taboo.

Survey on salary transparency

A survey conducted by Glassdoor in 2015 also shows the importance of (and increasing demand for) salary transparency. In recent years, there has been an upward trend from the so-called ‘traditional secrecy in the workplace’ to a more transparent salary policy. In his blog, Geert-Jan Waasdorp, director of Intelligence Group, also discusses the importance of an equal and transparent pay structure between men and women and its effects on (female) employees.

It also emerges that the European Commission is proposing measures for remuneration transparency. This transparency also has an effect on the search for a new job. Job seekers weigh up the costs (the effort and time spent looking for information) against the benefits (getting a better job or a higher salary). Making this information more transparent encourages more people to look for a job, reduces the period of unemployment for workers and potentially leads to higher quality job matches. In addition, the majority of research shows that employees are more productive and engaged when pay structures are transparent and predictable.

The top 10 most important pull factors

As mentioned earlier, a good salary is one of the most important pull factors for most people. In 2020, 55% of the labour force considered a good salary an important pull factor. Men seem to find this much more important than women do. Half of the women consider this to be an important pull factor, while the figure for men is 60%. There is also a remarkable pattern in terms of age category and level of education.

The importance of a good salary as a reason for choosing an employer decreases with age. 58% of the Dutch Labour Force under 30 years of age consider a good salary to be an important pull factor, while this is the case for 51% of those aged 50 and over. A breakdown by educational level also shows a clear difference. Of all Lower Vocational Education graduates, 59% consider a good salary an important reason for choosing an employer, while this is much lower for university graduates (52%).

As the table below shows, in addition to salary, a number of other pull factors are also relatively important. The working atmosphere, having a permanent contract, job content and travel time are in the top 5, together with salary.

The top 10 pullfactors in 2020
1. Good salary
2. Working atmosphere
3. Permanent contract
4. Job content
5. Close to home/acceptable travel time
6. Challenge in the job
7. Job independence
8. Acceptable workload
9. Variety of work
10. Good fringe benefits/CLA

Source: Intelligence Group 2020

New European legislation

Despite the fact that the main pull factors of the Dutch Labour Force have not or hardly changed, differences can be seen when this group is broken down. The positive trend of salary transparency is expected to continue, partly due to the scarcity in the labour market, the closing of the gender pay gap and possibly salary competition between employers.

The fact that the European Union has recently presented a proposal to ensure that men and women are paid equally for the same work will undoubtedly contribute to this. In other words, hopefully, a step in the right direction!