Kellie G. Olah
SPHR, CVPM, SHRM-SCP
HR Huddle columnist Kellie Olah is the practice management and human resources consultant at Veterinary Business Advisors. The company provides legal, human resources and practice management services to veterinarians nationwide. Olah is a certified veterinary practice manager, a certified veterinary business leader and a nationally certified senior professional in human resources.Read Articles Written by Kellie G. Olah
When posting a help-wanted ad, you might wonder whether to include salary or wage information. If you do, job applicants appreciate the details. On the other hand, you’ll likely get fewer responses if the compensation doesn’t meet a candidate’s needs. In some states, cities and counties, employers no longer have such an option due to transparency laws. Like many legal matters, the requirements vary by a veterinary practice’s location.
First, determine whether you conduct business in a jurisdiction that demands salary and wage information be revealed during the hiring process. If yes, research the requirements to be clear about your responsibilities.
California was among the first states to have such a law with its amended Equal Pay Act. As a result, employers may not ask about a candidate’s salary history, and the pay range must be disclosed if an applicant inquires after the first interview. California also requires employers with at least 15 workers to post pay ranges on ads for jobs based in the state.
Maryland’s law is similar to California’s. Elsewhere, Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act says employers must list the compensation in job ads, notify workers when opportunities for promotion exist, and maintain job descriptions and wage records of current employees for two years after their termination.
Similar laws exist in Connecticut, Nevada, Rhode Island and Washington State.
Therefore, regardless of your practice’s location, understand which mandates you might be subject to at the local or state level.
Transparency laws help job seekers self-select work locations and give them a starting point during salary negotiations. In addition, human resources professionals save time because people unsatisfied with a posted salary probably won’t apply. And employers dodge interviewees who, under the old rules, lost interest once they learned about the pay.
If your practice’s pay is competitive, posting salary information almost certainly increases the number of applicants. A 2022 survey by Indeed found that 75% of U.S. job seekers were more likely to apply when a salary range was divulged.
Another positive aspect of transparency laws is that companies have more difficulty offering different pay rates based on gender and other personal characteristics.
Salary transparency laws can have negative consequences. For example, if a veterinary practice offers more compensation to candidates to attract them, current employees with more experience might complain that they’re underpaid and demand a raise. The Society for Human Resource Management opposes California’s law for that reason.
The wider pay gap also could cause seasoned employees to look for another job, compounding the veterinary labor crunch, especially at smaller practices.
Interestingly, more companies post salary ranges nowadays in the absence of transparency laws. According to a study by the advisory firm WTW, 17% voluntarily disclose pay rates. Also, 62% of those surveyed planned to reveal pay rates at some point or are at least considering it.
Companies that aren’t required to post pay information and don’t do it list administrative complexity and potential adverse employee reactions as among the reasons.
When writing a help-wanted ad, and regardless of whether you disclose the pay, try to feature other aspects of your veterinary practice. Listings should go beyond the nuts and bolts of a specific job position, succinctly provide a snapshot of your practice’s culture and work environment, and explain what makes your business special. Job postings are also called “job ads” for a good reason.
The goal is to capture an applicant’s attention and quickly engage the person. Therefore:
- Keep job postings short and start with the most captivating information.
- Use bullet points to highlight critical details.
- Be professional but not necessarily formal.
- List fringe benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid leave, professional development and schedule flexibility.
- Be upfront about what might be a deal breaker for some candidates, such as being on call or having to travel.
- If your state mandates pay transparency or your practice voluntarily lists the pay, include all appropriate information.
- Keep current with employment laws since they can change significantly over time. You might want to consult an attorney to ensure full compliance.