Spoiler alert: Most definitely, YES.

Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure that any job applicant would want to know what sort of salary to expect before they even consider applying for the job. It needn’t be the exact figure, but at least a bracket to have an idea. Why?

Let’s call a spade a spade

Presumptuous as it might sound, I think that a motivated applicant has a right to be given a clear salary indication when applying for a job of any nature or industry. Otherwise they’d be wasting both their and the interviewer’s time if, once they apply, they realise they’re not interested in working for the figures offered. However great the job may be, money is a huge determining factor. I get it’s not the be-all and end-all of a role, but people need to make a living, and if the pay isn’t good, it’s not financially viable for a person to work for a measly salary.

I’m not going to be apologetic for my bluntness, but since when are people expected to work for free? And I use the word ‘free’ loosely here. In my opinion, if a person is working for a minimum or close-to-minimum wage, it is as good as free. With today’s cost of living and real estate prices through the roof, a salary cannot be considered good, let alone great, if one needs to struggle to make ends meet from month to month.

That said, low-paid jobs do exist, and I don’t expect a low-skill job to offer a six-figure salary. But if such a job is not offering high salary, then candidates without experience should be considered, so it would be fair game for those who want to work. After all, everyone needs to start somewhere, and basic skills should be easy to transmit to inexperienced people.

It’s not always about the money

I don’t want to be misunderstood here, so let me be clear on my views. I’m not saying that an unskilled, demotivated and/or lazy person should expect more than s/he has to offer (which is basically nothing). Nonetheless, many of my friends and colleagues share the sentiment expressed above.

Unfortunately the majority of employers in Malta (and I speak of the local context because I’ve never worked abroad, so I don’t know what the norm is overseas) expect their staff to execute many extra tasks, but pay just one salary. So what ends up happening? Chances are, the employee may feel disgruntled, underappreciated and worse off, demotivated. And while employers tend to turn a blind eye on these issues, the reality is, it will have a negative impact on their own company in the long run.

A typical local job ad

Aside from a brief background about the company, its industry and specialisation, an ad normally comes with a lengthy list of the tasks and responsibilities assigned to the employee the company eventually wants to chose. Perhaps one of all-time favourite phrases I’ve come across has got to be ‘which include but isn’t limited to’. Ah, what a diplomatic way of saying: ‘your role can vary and you may quite possibly have a number of surprise tasks’.

Heck, why not slip into another role within its own description, or better yet, give the job a fancy title to make up for the lack of salary the employee will be missing? I get that many roles can come with the odd job or two which might not be listed, and I agree that any employee should have that clichéd and overly-promoted ‘can-do’ attitude. But, as much as I believe in being prepared to take on other tasks over and above mandatory responsibilities, there should be a limit.

I’m quite certain that I’m not the only person who’s experienced frustration when looking at a detailed job description, only for it to have no indication whatsoever of the salary figures to expect. So, we’re provided with expectations of what an ideal candidate should possess with regard to role responsibility, skills, experience (and lest we forget qualifications!), but not what the candidate in question will be receiving as remuneration? Where’s the sense and fairness in that?

My verdict? If you want to pay peanuts, expect to employ monkeys. You either need to change the mentality or accept mediocre staff. So send a clear signal whether it’s a low-paid and low-skilled job, or you are ready to reward expertise with a decent pay. It’s as simple as that.

Further reading:

5 things on job seekers’ wish list