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What annoys jobseekers the most during job hunts?

Ever felt frustrated with a job ad because it didn’t include the salary? Us too. At Adzuna HQ, we’ve looked into the top annoyances for jobseekers and unsurprisingly, a lack of pay clarity features high on the list.

Close to one in three US jobseekers say no salary or a lack of salary clarity on job ads is their biggest job search frustration. Additionally, over half of them straight-out declined a job offer when they found out the intended salary in interview stages.

We conducted the research in September 2022 as part of our campaign to #MakeSalariesMandatory. We’re on a mission to make the job market fairer and more transparent by calling on all businesses to show salaries in their job ads and campaigning for the US government to make including salaries on all job ads a federal requirement.

Want to transform the job landscape for the better? Sign our petition now.


What jobseekers really think about a lack of salary transparency

We polled 2,000 US workers who have looked for jobs at least once over the last five years, and the results were clear. The majority of jobseekers think salary transparency should be employers’ number one priority on postings – more important than the job role itself, the location, the company culture, its diversity and inclusion policy, or any work benefits or perks.

However, reality certainly bites. Large US employers including Amazon, Applebee’s, Deloitte, PwC, Shell, Safeway, Walgreens, Walmart, Pizza Hut, UPS, and Target do not disclose salaries, or have poor transparency levels, according to our data. And there are consequences.

The lack of salary on a job ad makes jobseekers skeptical of an employer. A third (32%) assume the company is hiding something, while 30% believe it shows the company would underpay them. Others think it makes the company look untrustworthy (28%), or that it shows them the company will be biased in how they pay their employees (31%).

Employers not including salary information on job ads is leading to hours wasted for jobseekers. On average, those jobseekers wasted seven hours applying for the position, with 13% wasting 10 hours on the process. In total, our analysis shows that over the last five years alone US workers have wasted over 480 million hours applying for jobs with the wrong salary! How infuriating!

To make matters worse, 54% of jobseekers declined a job straight-out after they found out the intended salary after going through lengthy interview processes. Employers should take note. A third (33%) of those polled said they would not attend a job interview before knowing the salary an employer is willing to offer.


Top 10 biggest pain points when applying for a job

Jobseekers cited a host of challenges when applying for a new role and said the worst pain point is being turned down for a job because they do not have enough experience, despite the HR team and the hiring manager already looking at their resume and expressing interest.

Alarmingly, jobseekers have applied for an average of seven jobs in the last five years with just three in ten (32%) of those applications leading to an interview. So deep is the issue that half (50%) of employees have wanted to move jobs but decided against it as they find job hunting too stressful. On average, this led them to staying in the job for an additional three to four years.

To dig into this further, we asked always-honest Olivia Attwood to speak to workers about their job hunting frustrations and help us make salaries mandatory on job ads.


Here’s our overview of the top 10 biggest pain points when applying for a job:

  1. Getting turned down because of not having enough experience despite the employer already looking at the resume (29%)
  2. Lack of clarity on salary, or very large salary ranges (28%)
  3. Interview process dragging out over multiple weeks or even months (28%)
  4. Getting turned down because of being overqualified for a role despite the employer already looking at the resume (27%)
  5. Not hearing back/not receiving a reply after applying (27%)
  6. Needing to update their resume for every application (27%)
  7. Learning the employer was not being totally transparent about the role/company after reading reviews online (26%)
  8. Too many stages to the interview process (26%)
  9. Realizing mid-interview that this isn’t the job for you (25%)
  10. Being asked inappropriate or offensive interview questions (25%)

Join Olivia and sign the petition!


The US lags far behind on salary transparency

It probably comes as no surprise that the US is among the worst countries in the world for salary transparency – with only 3% of job ads including salary.

Diving deeper, Washington, DC is the best area/district in regard to salary transparency, with 19% of job ads including salary. It is followed by New York at 6% and California at 5%.

Conversely, Delaware, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Maine and Rhode Island came in at the bottom in regard to salary transparency, all with less than 1.5% of job ads including salary.

New York City and California are among the cities and states where employers are required by law to share salary ranges when hiring. Their rank in regard to salary transparency is proof that laws are starting to help the job market move away from salary secrecy towards greater salary transparency.

Sector-wise, the lack of salary transparency is an industry-wide problem in the US, but certain sectors are faring slightly better than others. Charitable jobs (10%) are the most transparent, followed by trade and construction jobs (5%). Jobs in the retail (0.5%) and travel (1%) industries are the least transparent.

Although there’s far more work to be done, the good news is, US companies in general are becoming slightly more transparent amid the cost-of-living crisis. In 2020, an average of 1% of companies were transparent about salary and in 2022 an average of 3% are transparent.

Sign the petition, share it with friends, get salary transparency sorted now!

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