- Pay transparency in Australian postings has increased significantly over the past four years, exceeding 35% of postings in June this year.
- Pay transparency is highest in beauty & wellness, construction and dental postings. By comparison, employers in engineering and tech prefer to keep jobseekers in the dark on pay.
- Pay transparency has increased the most among lower-wage roles and those where remote work is less viable. This suggests that some employers may have used pay transparency to entice more jobseekers away from the comforts of home.
Many Australians will recognise the feeling: you are going through a recruitment process and believe you are going to get the job, only to find out that the pay isn’t what you expected. This lack of pay transparency is a waste of time for both recruiters and jobseekers—but progress is being made.
There has been a steady increase in the share of Australian job postings that feature pay information, according to an analysis of Indeed job posting data. Over the past four years, the share of job postings featuring pay information has increased considerably, rising from almost 21% in June 2019 to 35% in June 2023, with most of the increase occurring throughout the pandemic and its recovery.
Pay transparency—or lack thereof—has long been an issue in Australia, with secrecy around pay and benefits historically common. Despite recent progress, roughly two-thirds of Australian job postings on Indeed carry no information about salary, often leaving jobseekers poorly positioned to determine an appropriate pay rate or even whether to apply for a given job.
Within organisations this is beginning to change. In December 2022, a bill was passed amending the Fair Work Act and banning pay secrecy clauses in employment contracts. And the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment Bill 2023 will force organisations with more than 100 employees to report on their gender pay gap. Australian workers will be able to discuss their pay freely and determine whether they are paid fairly or not.
While this legislation won’t directly impact recruitment, it is contributing to a broad-based increase in pay transparency, which is rising in each state and territory and across every occupational category. Gains have been concentrated in lower-wage occupations and jobs where remote work isn’t typically viable.
While we wouldn’t necessarily claim that jobseekers are well-informed about pay and conditions today, they certainly appear better informed than they were before the pandemic began.
Pay transparency is rising in Australia
In June, around 35% of Australian job postings on Indeed featured pay information, up from almost 32% a year ago and 21% four years ago. Most of the increase occurred in two separate episodes. First, in 2020 when the pandemic started, and second, in 2022 as demand for talent rose and the labour market tightened considerably.
Throughout 2022, pay transparency was highest in our nation’s capital at 38%, slightly ahead of Tasmania at 37%. Transparency is less common among the larger states, with 34% of New South Wales postings, 33% of Queensland postings and 29% of Victorian postings featuring pay information.
Crucially though, pay transparency has improved in every state and territory since 2019, with the largest increases observed in Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory. Relatively small improvements were observed in South Australia.
Pay transparency varies considerably across occupations
The share of Australian job postings with pay information has increased in every occupational category tracked by Indeed.
In 2022, pay transparency was highest in beauty & wellness and construction, where 59.4% and 56.9% of job postings feature pay information, respectively. A range of healthcare occupations rank highly, including dental (54.8%), personal care & home health (54.1%) and nursing (52.9%).
Engineering and tech are the two sectors that most commonly keep jobseekers in the dark. Just 12.0% of industrial engineering and 15.8% of electrical engineering job postings feature pay information. Tech didn’t fare much better, with software development (16.5%), information design (19.0%) and IT operations & help desk (19.6%) all ranking relatively low for pay transparency.
Pay transparency has increased the most for beauty & wellness postings, up 36.1 percentage points—one of four occupations where the share of postings with pay information had more than doubled since 2019. The others being dental (+31.2 percentage points), production & manufacturing (+23.7 percentage points) and pharmacy (+19.0 percentage points).
Greater pay transparency in low-wage, low-remote jobs
The increase in pay transparency has been concentrated among low-wage positions and also roles where remote work is either uncommon or traditionally less viable.
In June, 38% of low-wage postings featured pay information, compared to 37% of middle-wage and almost 30% of high-wage postings. Prior to the pandemic, pay transparency was similar for low- and high-wage postings, and was considerably below middle-wage positions.
Growth in pay transparency has also been concentrated in roles with historically lower levels of remote work. In June, 40% of postings for low-remote sectors featured pay information, compared to 34% for medium-remote and just 26% for high-remote positions.
Greater pay transparency is smart recruitment
Greater pay transparency isn’t simply helpful for jobseekers, it can also lead to improved hiring outcomes for employers too. On Indeed, job postings with pay information receive 30% more apply starts, on average, than postings that hide pay.
Employers may be using pay information to attract more candidates and also lure jobseekers away from the comforts of home. We observed a similar trend in our 2022 analysis of signing bonuses.
It’s not hard to understand why employers in industries or sectors where remote work is less viable may need to change their recruitment strategies. A recent study found 35% of Australians said they would quit their jobs or start looking for another if their employers forced them to return to the workplace full-time. Some employers may have become more transparent because it was necessary to compete against jobs that could offer the flexibility of working from home.
In what remains a historically tight labour market with widespread talent and skill shortages, providing pay information provides an easy way to attract more interest from jobseekers.
We calculate the pay transparency share in Australian job postings by dividing the number of unique job postings with a salary by the total count of unique advertisements in a given month. Pay information is extracted from postings published on Indeed.com. Salaries advertised as being paid daily or weekly are omitted from the analysis. Wage-level groups are assigned based on the median wage of each occupational sector in 2019 and are held constant over time.