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What To Do If A Job Listing Doesn’t Have A Salary Range, According To An Expert

The job search was not a fun experience for me. As a recent grad, I found it difficult to finish out my last semester of college strong while attempting to find a post-grad job. Once I finally found a job listing that made sense with my experience and educational background (you know the struggle, fellow communication majors), I was faced with a huge roadblock before I even started prepping my application: The job listing didn’t include a salary range.

It’s frustrating when a company opts out of including a salary range on a job listing — and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. According to Her Campus’s graduation survey, 53% of respondents said they are unlikely to apply for a job if a salary range is not listed.

Knowing how much a job pays is key when it comes to young candidates deciding whether or not to apply for a job — so why do so many companies omit this important information in their job listings? According to LinkedIn career expert Andrew McCaskill, an Emory University alum whose cultural analyses have been featured in The New York Times and Forbes, not seeing a salary range included on a job listing may be a way for companies to ensure they’re attracting candidates who are excited about the role, and not just the money. “Part of the choreography of job interviewing and sourcing talent has always been figuring out if people want to really do the job,” McCaskill tells Her Campus in an exclusive interview. 

It also could be because listing salary ranges on job postings is a fairly new trend. As of 2023, eight states have enacted salary range transparency laws, including California, New York, and Colorado, per the Center for American Progress. According to a study done by Indeed, there was a 137% increase in U.S. job postings including employer-provided salary information from 2020 to 2023. But in states where there is no law for this, it wouldn’t be surprising for companies to not list salaries up front. “Depending upon your geography, many job [postings] will not have the salary range,” McCaskill says.

When a company’s job listing doesn’t have a salary range, it can be frustrating, but McCaskill says this isn’t necessarily a red flag. “I would not count out a job opportunity just because there’s not a salary range,” he says. But still, how are Gen Z candidates who are just starting out in the job search supposed to know whether the job they’re applying for even comes close to the salary they’re seeking?

Do your research first.

If you’re wary about spending your time and energy applying for a job that’s salary isn’t included on the listing, McCaskill highly suggests doing your homework first. “Part of what [candidates] need to do is start doing research around the jobs you want — what do those jobs pay?” McCaskill says. Doing research on the average starting salaries in your field and finding out what other entry-level candidates are making can help job seekers better understand what to expect. 

Sites like Glassdoor and Reddit offer forums for past and current employees to share salary information about the companies they work at, which can give you a good initial snapshot of what to expect. But don’t underestimate the power of speaking to people in your network. “Connections [and] relationships matter,” McCaskill says. “You can get more advice about your career in a 30-minute conversation with someone who understands the work you want to do than you could potentially get in four years of going to class every day.” 

If you’re unsure of where to start, lean on the resources provided by your school. “Talk to your alumni affairs office and ask them, ‘Is there an alum who is currently working in the industry that I want to work in that you can connect me to?’” McCaskill advises.

McCaskill says this research and networking process is more than just collecting information. “Having conversations with other professionals about work makes it much easier for you to relieve some of that anxiety about talking about things like money, benefits, or the expectations at a new job,” he says.

Don’t be afraid to ask.

Though it may not seem like it, McCaskill says it’s totally acceptable to bring up compensation early on in the recruitment process. “After you’ve applied and gotten some initial recruiter interest, I would say it’s perfectly OK [to ask about the salary],” he says. 

Typically, a recruiter, HR rep, or hiring manager will explain a role’s expected compensation (which may include salary, benefits, and bonuses) in an initial screening call or early-stage interview. However, if you’ve made it through multiple stages of the interview process and still haven’t heard anything about salary, McCaskill says it’s reasonable to bring up the topic on your own. “If there’s not been a conversation about compensation, I think that it’s perfectly OK to say, ‘Hey, just wanted to check here, is there a set range for this particular role?’” 

It may be a scary conversation to have, but it will get easier over time. After all, McCaskill says, “The only way to get comfortable talking about money is to talk about money.”

For more insights on navigating a difficult job market and the top jobs, industries, and cities to pursue right now, check out LinkedIn’s 2024 Guide to Kickstarting Your Career.

McKinley Franklin is a writer and recent college graduate from East Carolina University. She was Her Campus' fall 2022 entertainment and culture intern and is a current national writer. McKinley specializes in entertainment coverage, though her favorite niche of the industry is reality television.