Advertising a Salary

Unlike many industries where salary secrecy is still prevalent, hospitality has a long and commendable history of being upfront with candidates about the remuneration on offer. 


This transparency improves the candidate experience, provides clarity on the respective seniority and expectations of the role (especially in an industry where generic job titles abound), and helps avoid disappointment later in the process. Indeed, a 2018 LinkedIn survey found that clarity on compensation was the most important part of the job description for an overwhelming 61% of all respondents. 


With that outlook in mind, it should be relatively easy for hiring companies to benchmark their salaries and attract suitable talent. And yet, increasingly, recruiters are discovering that their salary offer is falling short of candidate ambitions and expectations. 


There are two – predictable – drivers for this: the current skills shortage in hospitality and the recent cost of living “crisis”. Candidates, particularly chefs, are able to command much higher salaries than previously, and personally I have seen rates increase by 10% in some roles over the last 12 months. And the cost-of-living squeeze is making it harder to promote the non-financial benefits of a role as, ultimately, these do not pay the (ever increasing) bills.  

My advice to clients is, however, again relatively straightforward: if you are serious about attracting and retaining talented individuals, think carefully about how you intend to compensate them. Of course, there will be constraints in terms of affordability and sustainability, but points to consider are: 


  • Advertise a broad salary range, with clear expectations on what would be required to place at the upper end. This will offer your recruiter much more opportunity and flexibility in attracting and communicating with potential candidates.
  • Consider the climate but no do not panic. Market rates are changing quickly but not necessarily consistently – some roles are increasing much more rapidly than others. Utilise your available budget to secure the resources you need at the current or expected market value, do not simply uplift all rates unless doing so for other reasons (e.g. to address regional or historic inconsistencies).
  • Explore the potential of the candidate on an individual level, and enter into a conversation about their expectations and ambitions, even if they have to be part of a longer-term plan. Hospitality is a people-driven industry, and investment in your talent is an enhancement of your greatest asset.
  • Trust your recruiter. They know their industry, they know how quickly rates are changing, the reality of skills shortages, and where the real squeezes are being experienced. Recruiters benefit more from a disaffected and mobile workforce than they do from a marginal uplift on a single placement. If they are telling you to offer more, it is because it is needed to attract or retain the talent you have trusted them to source.


At Hospitality Connection we understand the unique challenges of recruiting into hospitality. But we also appreciate the demands of maintaining a profitable, successful venue. 


When it comes to advertising (and subsequently negotiating) salaries, we can advise, support and inform the conversation from a position of insight and experience, leading to an outcome which is fair, equitable and desirable for all involved. 

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