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How crowd-sourced pay estimates will alter hiring

It will now be possible to choose which jobs to apply for based on pay estimates. FILE PHOTO | NMG
It will now be possible to choose which jobs to apply for based on pay estimates. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

LinkedIn users applying for jobs on its platform will get an estimated salary on every job notice, thanks to the social media platform’s newly launched Salary Insights tool, driven by crowd-sourced information from its members and employers.

The feature is set to impact Kenya’s job market directly, with the Job Market Report by Trends and Insights for Africa (Tifa) and jobs site BrighterMonday showing that 65 per cent of Kenyan jobseekers now search for jobs online. Of these, 60 per cent use online job platforms, while 23 per cent use LinkedIn.

With such significant usage, LinkedIn’s new salary feature comes as an add-on to the LinkedIn Salary service that has, since 2016, been giving a detailed breakdown of salaries by job title and location based on information privately submitted by LinkedIn members.

LinkedIn’s senior product manager Keren Baruch introduced the new salary insight feature to the public in a blog post on the company’s website, saying it will now show an expected salary range on job listings, based on data from LinkedIn’s 546+ million members and employer-provided information.

“A recent survey found that more than 70 per cent of professionals want to hear about salary in the first message from a recruiter. By surfacing this information early on in the process, we hope to make the application process more seamless by allowing you to know if a job meets your salary criteria before entering into a conversation with the hiring manager,” said Baruch.

Transparent salaries have been found to work for employers too.

According to a study on the relationship between wages and the number and quality of applicants, Wages, Job Queues, and Skills, job openings with a posted salary get 7.8 per cent more applications than job openings without a stated salary figure.

But Tifa director Maggie Ireri warns that such salary estimates can also work against employers. “It can make you attract people within your budget, but you may also miss out on qualified people who feel they do not fall within your salary range.”

She adds: “An employer also misses out on the opportunity to explain in detail the perks that come with the job.”

In this, upfront salary estimates may concentrate candidate decision-making around money, rather than paying attention to job satisfaction or career opportunities.

But the tool may also serve to prevent job losses during unrealistic salary negotiations.

When hiring managers ask job seekers to give their salary expectations, many guess blindly. This is especially common for graduates seeking their first jobs, with many unaware of the normal salary range, meaning they overshoot on their expected salary, and get rejected.

However, crowd-sourced salary trackers such as the new LinkedIn service, and the longstanding data provided by AfricaPay and MyWage, can be used to avoid this gap.

The rise of crowd-sourced transparency may also now serve to level the playing field between the genders, with the authors of the book Why Women Don’t Ask, finding that 46 per cent of men negotiate following a job offer, whereas only 30 per cent of women do.

This combination of unpublicised salaries and men’s greater tendency to negotiate for more has led to consistent gender pay gaps.

In Kenya, a 2016 UNDP Report titled Human Development for Everyone reported the estimated gross national income per capita for males was $3,405 (Sh350,715) in 2015, compared to $2,357 (Sh242,771) for females.

- African Laughter

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