Why a ‘competitive salary’ makes your roles less competitive

Posted by Louise on 17 Feb 2022

Almost half of the jobs (46%) listed on RateMyPlacement.co.uk in 2020 advertised a ‘competitive salary'.

But with the majority of jobseekers citing compensation as the most important part of a job description, is transparency the answer to attracting more candidates?

We ran a poll on LinkedIn and Instagram to find out what students think…

And it was a landslide victory! 100% of Instagram respondents and 98% on LinkedIn said they would prefer to see the ‘actual salary’ on a job listing.

Let's dig a little deeper...

When asked why they’d prefer to see the actual salary, students responded...

“Including the salary details allows you to effectively compare job opportunities.”

“It is very frustrating not knowing what you are signing up for.”

“It shows how the company is equally committed to equality as it is to honesty.”

The problem is, the term ‘competitive’ has become so commonplace that it has lost its original meaning. Is it competitive to the industry? The region?

Whilst it used to suggest a salary that competes with the market, now it’s just off-putting.

Competitive salaries have become a hot topic outside the student market too. This recent poll on LinkedIn, for instance, received more than 6,500 votes in favour of showing a salary - versus 100 votes against!

Screenshot 2021-12-09 at 12.02.41

So, why do employers put 'competitive'?

The largest firms compete fiercely for the best talent. Keeping an ace like salary information up their sleeve could give them the upper hand when it comes to making a candidate an offer. 

One employer told us that they want students to apply because they really want to work for thatcompany and make a difference there, rather than applying because of the salary.

5 reasons to include the salary

As well as helping potential candidates make informed decisions when they apply, disclosing the salary in your job listings could help you...

1. Stand out from the sea of ‘competitive salaries’ to attract the very best candidates

2. Position yourself as a company that promotes salary equality

3. Appeal to Gen Z who are open about their compensation and value transparency

4. Save applicants from having to negotiate (unless this is a key skill you’re looking for)

5. Create a culture of transparency with your current employees


In summary, the more transparent you can be with your offering, the more students will be encouraged to apply

As a peer-to-peer review website, we put our student audience and the student experience front and centre of what we do. We see this as an important change and one we encourage as many employers as possible to do.


If you'd like to find out more or amend your current job listing with us, click below to get in touch with our Customer Success Team.