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Tell HN: You can't hire because you don't post salary ranges
1010 points by Carrok on July 21, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 523 comments
At the start of this year, Colorado has changed to require every job posted to list a salary range. Other states are also beginning to follow suit.

I am currently job hunting. I started looking locally, everything lists salary ranges, perfect. I can know which positions to skip and which ones might be a good match right away. No need to waste time with 7 rounds of interviewing only to find out the salary is 50% of what I currently make.

Now I've begun widening my search to remote work, as the idea of commuting to an office in 2022 is completely insane to me.

Most jobs on nation-wide job boards do not post a salary range. I will not even click on those job postings. It's simply not worth it.

Further, after seeing so many positions listed _with_ salary ranges, when I see one without a salary range it makes me feel like you have something to hide and are trying to trick me.

So the next time your team starts discussing why you can't seem to hire, maybe ask if you are publicly posting salary ranges on these positions?




More anecdotal evidence: a few years back I wanted to get out of the work situation I was in. I looked around, had some interviews, had some offers. None of the postings had salary ranges, as is common where I live.

My eyes, however, were set on a specific small company because I liked their product. The process was long and involved multiple meetings, a take-home problem, and stretched over 2 or so months. I was upfront about what my salary expectations were (wasn't looking for a raise, just a lateral move). They said we discuss salary when you meet the founders, i.e. the last step before getting hired, but they also didn't tell me that my range was way off.

Turns out I had played this 9 week game and turned down other offers just to be severely low-balled by them. Maybe they saw that I really wanted the position and thought they could get away with a low offer.

Obviously, I rejected their offer on the spot. I also promised myself to never, _ever_, be fooled like that again. We talk money before I invest any significant amount of time or I walk.


I seriously don't get how slow firms hire anyone. Surely the people you want will vanish quickly?

I recently found a new job, had a backup offer after a week, and the job I actually wanted 4 weeks later, after about 7 working days post contact.

After I signed, several of the firms I'd interviewed with got back to me with interest. This is weeks after initial contact, and weeks after the last interview, so if course I thought they weren't interested.

I'm happy with with long thread time, but not long wall time. I don't mind people bringing me into 6 or 7 hours of interviews over a day or two, what I mind is doing those calls over the course of several weeks. It really bothers me to do an interview every week with a firm for a month.

For people who go for firms that are known for long processes, how do you do this? Just hang in there with your old job? What if something better turns up faster?


It depends entirely on priorities and circumstance. Some folks are willing and able to wait to work somewhere they feel is a perfect fit for them, or special in some other way; others may be interested in transitioning to new work ASAP (or need to, for financial reasons).

When I left my last job, I quit without having anything lined up, and was fortunate enough to have a bit of buffer to take some time off to recuperate and search for new work. I got some promising interviews, but none were like my interviews with the company I work for now. I rejected a number of offers while still in the process with my current company (with the full understanding that there was no guarantee of anything waiting for me). My priority at the time was finding somewhere where I knew I would love to work, and not getting back to work as soon as I could. For me, it paid off to wait.

Our interview process is pretty involved, and not for nothing — we get a lot of applicants, screen heavily, and put in a lot of time and effort into each individual candidate at every stage. We don't have dedicated recruiters, and besides our ops team, we've got individual developers, designers, product managers, support folks, etc. involved in hiring for their respective domains. Our interviews are humane, first and foremost, and a good number of candidates I've gotten to speak to have described the process as refreshing (well, relative to the general hell that is interviewing). The general process is: written questionnaire, two interviews (one technical/skill-focused, one non-technical), and a chat with execs.

It's completely understandable if this process doesn't work for all candidates; we've made great progress tightening up the process, shortening it without compromising on quality, and have invested a lot of time in tooling to help us out to speed things up. But it also works exceptionally well for us and the folks we're lucky to work with (~0.1–1% hire rate depending on position) — since I started a few years ago, the company has more than doubled in size (from a small to a medium company), and in that time, we've had a total of 2 individuals decide it wasn't a good fit for them. The company culture is like nothing else, and it's an amazing place to work.


0.1-1% hire rate based on applicants, or based on candidates interviewed? 0.1% hire rate of candidates interviewed doesn't seem compatible with your described growth rate, even if you very conservatively assumes you spend 1 hour interviewing each candidate, thats 25 weeks of straight interviewing per candidate hired. And thats 1 hour of time across the whole company, if you have 2 interviewers spend an hour each, thats now 50 employee-weeks, or an entire year. To double the company size in 5 years, you would have needed to spend 1/5th of your entire tenure interviewing. If you go up to 10 total hours spent per candidate (including all interviewers, recruiters, and time spend in discussion and negotiation) it becomes straight up impossible.


Surely it's not based on interviews. You'll lose the will to live if one in a thousand interviewees gets the job.

Based on applicants it's ok, went all seen how any job ad attracts piles and piles of spam applications.


Oh, for sure, that would be nuts. 0.1–1% of applicants.


So to be clear for a given position you get 100 to 1000 resumes, then interview how many of those before deciding on 1 person? I am curious what the funnel looks like.


It depends entirely on the size and quality of the candidate pool, but I'd say very roughly:

* Initial candidate screening reduces the pool by 85–95% (leaving 5–15% of the initial pool) * Interview #1 reduces the pool further by 50–66% (leaving ~3–4% of the initial pool) * Interview #2 reduces the pool further by another 66–75% (leaving ~1–2% of the initial pool) * Final chat usually doesn't reduce the pool, but it's one last pass for additional signal * We choose a single candidate of whoever remains

For a position with 400 applicants, it could look like

* Initial screening leaves 40 candidates for interview #1 * Interview #1 leaves 15 candidates for interview #2 * Interview #2 leaves 4 candidates for final chat * We pick from those final 4


I'd like to know what company this is. There's an email in profile if you like.


small anecdote but the small startup i work for has been having a really hard time with candidates accepting other offers part way through our hiring process. We took some steps to make our entire hiring loop 2-3 days total and it has had a great improvement.


Thinking motivated by self-preservation, plus overweighting the “we want people who WANT to work here.”

When the quality of a hire isn’t easy to determine, this enables nearly every company (especially those where people are collegial) to think their people are the best.


Depends on the company. I took three months with current company which took a month for a background check. I gave notice before getting this position as I was done and wanted time off.


This is exactly why.

Interviewing can easily eat up 2-3 days of your life.

You only get 15-30 days of vacation per year.

Theoretically, you are working to have free time.

This is maybe 1/5th of your free time per year. You can't waste this on unknowns.

Give me the salary up front or p#$$ off.


> You only get 15-30 days of vacation per year.

This is why I'm glad to have "unlimited" PTO (subject to manager approval + must be requested at least the duration in advance, e.g. 2 weeks notice for 2 weeks off), along with a few annual company-wide breaks and an earned month-long break every 3 years.


I am opposite, I like limited PTO, because in my state your employer has to pay you for the unused time when you leave..


Unlimited PTO is often abused as way to prevent workers from feeling like they have the ability to take vacations when they need them.


Other benefits for the company (not the worker):

- don't have to pay out employees who didn't take their vacation - nobody taking vacation to use expiring vacation days - employees take less vacation in general


So really your PTO is subject to the discretion of your manager. Unlimited sounds good, but in practice, I think it is better to have ownership of your time off. I remember like 20 years ago having unlimited sick time, which in reality just meant your manager was rated on how much sick time their team burned through.


I'm a manager at a place that has "unlimited PTO"- and I've never rejected anyone's request for time off, and the only reason I do keep track of it is to encourage people to take time off. I need my developers to be at the top of their game, and that requires them to take a mental break so they don't get burned out.

That said, I need to take more PTO so I don't burn out...


If that's the way a company wants to have unlimitedly PTO, then they should be clear that there is a minimum amount of time that everyone must take off each year


That’s refreshing to hear. Good on you!


If you're taking time off for interviews, you're doing it wrong. Everyone I know either 1) calls out sick, or 2) if remote, just does it during their work day.


>Give me the salary up front or p#$$ off.

Good to see someone do this. I do this.


My "never again" story was around a decade ago. Thoughtworks had me interview with roughly a dozen people over half a dozen or more interviews, lasting ~20 hours (if you include the proctored Wunderlic test they administered to me on premises). At the end of that lengthy process, they said they would have loved to bring me on but "didn't have any open positions that fit my set of skills". You know, that set of skills I listed next to my work experience on my 2-page resume.

I no longer submit applications to any job until I've spoken to someone who works there to ask hard questions of them before I interview. I also no longer consider any job that lacks clear articulation of the platonic ideal of a candidate.


I hadn't heard of the Wonderlic test before: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonderlic_test

Interesting and a bit creepy.

I think here in California for nerds who have been around for a while, companies have at least some concept of what competitive rates are, so I hadn't worried about posted salary ranges. If they waste your time leading up to a lowball offer, they at least have wasted their own time as well, so they have an incentive to not do that. That of course assumes you didn't do a take home assignment ;).


Pretty sure I got made to do this one when I got my first job in the UK (at a sports betting company, that turned out to be a pretty terrible job overall - I misinterpreted "gaming company" to mean video games...)

One of their investors came in to run the test, it was his thing, apparently. Weird industry full of weird and corrupt people.


It’s famously administered to all nfl quarterbacks. Tom Brady got a 33.


All NFL players, not just quarterbacks, right?


Yes, all positions, there's a little more info about it in the linked Wikipedia article.

Apparently Frank Gore had one of the all time lowest scores with a 6. He is a borderline Hall of Fame caliber running back.


Thoughtworks also screwed me like that. They gave me a take-home assignment which took few hours. At the end, their feedback was - my code is not cloud scalable and their were some values that I used directly and not from a configuration :-).

How can those people claim to be interviewers?


My (albeit limited) experience with companies like this is that their interview process is far more hurtful than helpful. The processes are so long and so narrow that I can't see how it wouldn't be more effective to just say "come work on this thing for a day with me" and we'll see how it goes?

They must be leaking so many great makers arbitrarily. I assume that this helps the kind of work they do in some mysterious way?


My team has thoughtwork contractors in it and I'm not surprised by your comments. Their actual ability to get things done is pretty bad


By mistake - I used the wrong 'their'. Apologies


I passed a Nearform interview years back when they didn't have employees, just contractors.

They said "Good, you passed the assignment, we'll call you when we have clients for your range". I kept my old job and I'm still waiting for a client from them.


It's foolish for the founders' part as well. They were wasting their programmers' time and effort as well. When I'm interviewing candidates, it's time that I'm losing. Why waste it on candidates who won't work for the salary?


Based on my experience, I'd say what happened here wasn't a deliberate decision on the part of the founders but rather a product of disorganization / disfunction in the company - probably recruiting has no incentive to avoid this type of thing, the engineers actually doing the interviewing don't have clear authority, and the higher ups don't want to take ownership.


If they don't respect candidates, maybe they don't respect their employees either.


Sometimes I wonder if the long interview process isn't a psychological game. Maybe they think they can leverage sunk cost fallacy against you just so they can low-ball you. Yeah, the pay might not be great, but if you walk away now, you'll have wasted 9 weeks of effort! You can't give up now. You're invested. ;-)


I had similar experience, which ended up working well for me. I interviewed for a job that I wanted and after they liked me they offered me something that wasn't up to my expectation. I rejected the offer and kept my current job. Two months later they reached out to me again, saying they have another exciting project for me and whether I would like to be interviewed. I was like, I don't even want to talk to you if we aren't talking salary first, it will just waste your time and my time. So we agreed on the salary first and then I had couple of interviews before they hired me.


Any company with a competitive salary is willing to talk money anyway. If they don't, they don't have the budget


As a manager, I have the salary conversation in the first call. Not specifics, but make sure we're in the same range. The last thing I want is to burn hours of my team's time evaluating someone only to find out a candidate we're all sold on wants 50% more than I can offer. I'm always confused by these stories - the hours and hours of wasted company time can add up to tens of thousands of dollars of effort, opportunity cost, etc. Figure it out ASAP so you're only spending time on people you can actually hire.


This is also why you should not agree to do coding interviews.


I feel like in the last years the level of arrogance of developers has reached a peak - somehow the market being full of opportunities, people seem to forget that there are others out there getting paid way less, doing critical things for society and going through way more stressful situations than the pain of not knowing what new shiny language to chose for your next microservice.

As having a developer background that switched more towards management now, how do you expect companies to hire? From what I see take at home tasks are not ok, making everyone loose their minds, technical interviews are also not ok, then what? The attitude of developers now is: 30 minute interview in which the company needs to offer 100% salary increase compared to previous job, pay the developer a full day as he took 30 minutes for you and then just hire him based on his CV in which he lists all possible technologies in the world that he read about once in an article or wrote a to-do app 3 years ago.


I don't have a general solution, but one thing this industry may consider is licensing. If we are going to be job hopping every couple years due to the way raises are done now, we should at least make it more efficient.

> how do you expect companies to hire?

At least in my case, if I have 25+ years of employment history on my resume doing the same thing that I'm interviewing for (and this can be verified), the interview process should be a lot simpler.


Does this work at any of the big companies? I'm coming up on something like 15 years of experience. I have a leetcode account and I've dabbled, but to be honest I'm just not that interested in playing that game, even for difference in comp it would likely bring.

That said, I am not all that averse to a respectful-of-my-time take home or having a discussion about a particular piece of code with a bit of prep, etc.

I've seen programmers far better than me get chewed up and spit out by the FAANG interview process because they hadn't prepped their leetcode skills enough. Anyway, I'm sure we could debate the interview process to death, but my original question stands: Can you just straight up say no to a coding interview at any FAANG or FAANG-like companies and actually get to an offer without having massive online reputation points?


Only if you know a VP or above. This isn’t a hurdle that can easily be overcome.


> Does this work at any of the big companies?

I've had coding interviews at big companies but always on their premises, with the interviewer there talking to me while I code. So I'm ok with that. They've never asked me to do a take home. I did a few of those for smaller companies before realizing that it's better to refuse.


Or, you simply ensure you get salary bands relayed up front before continuing.


Personally, I refuse to work for companies that don't explicitly evaluate programming ability when interviewing engineers.

I want to know that the people I'll be working with are at least baseline competent in that regard.


coding interviews do not test what matters.


That’s OK if you’re a junior engineer with less than ten years experience but I would feel insulted if you question my credibility.


I’ve interviewed more than a few 10+ years of claimed experience engineers who couldn’t write a function to sum a list/array of integers.

There are incompetent charlatans that you’re competing against and if you’re not willing to engage to demonstrate that you’re not, some will (not entirely unreasonably) assume that you might be one.


This 100%. Some years back I joined a company with a significant amount of low-quality engineers. In hindsight, the interview process was a breeze.

That's when I realized what should have been obvious: the less rigorous the interview, the less effective it is at keeping out unqualified folks.


I've found there's zero correlation between interview difficulty and compensation.


that is because most positions in our industry underpay anyways


Respect. Any time burned is more valuable than anything, and that's what they deliberately tried to do.


I had a similiar experience. After what felt like a long journey, and then receiving an offer that was less than my then base pay, I refuse to talk to companies that won't give me a pay range.


We just went through a large hiring cycle. We posted two versions for every job posting- one with salary ranges and one without.

The ads performed equally well in regard to total responses with the better candidates responding to the ones without salary ranges.

And... before you say, perhaps your salary ranges were bad, they weren't. Our salary offerings are very aggressive to the developer's benefit. In my opinion, salary is a sign of respect from you employer.

If your primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary you are not going to be happy where you work. I promise. Of the top reasons people are happy at work, salary is way down on the list. [0] It is important, it makes it possible to pay bills, but it isn't what makes people happy.

Meaning, if you are looking for a place you will enjoy working, do not start with salary.

[0]https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2014/12/15/the-top-...


>Of the top reasons people are happy at work, salary is way down on the list.

You're conflating multiple things here. People aren't focusing on money because it's the most important part. They focus on money because it's one of the few things that's relatively easy to make tangible ahead of time. Similar goes for things like remote/hybrid, secondary benefits, etc.

Many elements on that list, while important, are incredibly difficult to equate in practice without speaking with employees or reading up on the company. Take the following:

>1 Appreciation for your work

How in the world are you going to evaluate this pre-interview or even post hiring process? Both parties are showing their best selves. It's incredibly abstract and difficult to measure.

>2 Good relationships with colleagues

Again, difficult to measure. Establishing good relationships takes time. Additionally, most places (at least here) have people who are decent to get along with, they aren't filled with horror individuals. At least, I'd hope hiring processes would at least filter the most obvious nutcases out after all those hours spent.

>3 Good work-life balance

Here's one you can measure much more easily. Few core hours and a "do whatever whenever" mentality outside of core hours attracts individuals. Still I don't see most companies post it. It goes far beyond hybrid and remote work, and even that is already hard to pull out of them. Then at the end of the interview, you get a "yeah we have a flexible schedule. Our hours are from 7 to 7." Great.. I guess.


I agree on that and we had similar observations on the job boards that we manage (each of them has mandatory salary brackets if you want to post a job[1])

Obviously, salary is not the only criteria for picking a new role, but by publishing it upfront, you quickly sort out the expectations (which leads to less churn at later stages) and also contribute to a more inclusive and fair job market.

Some other points that we got as feedback from the tech communities:

- publishing tech stacks & engineering methodologies is quite useful too

- it's nice if a company provides a contact person for questions BEFORE applying

- you should act swiftly and not let candidates wait for weeks for your decision

[1] https://swissdevjobs.ch/

https://devitjobs.uk/

https://devitjobs.us/

https://germantechjobs.de/


Getting that good work life balance issue settled usually takes 2 or 3 rounds to pry some useful info out.


Great. We're talking about responding to an ad. Your response equates to just dealing with 1-4 hours of work, often requiring some juggling from the candidate's side (= more time), just to get some of the most important information.

Not only are you supporting my argument, you're also showcasing how ridiculously inefficient the hiring process is from the candidate's side. Without it being obvious whether this is a net gain for the employer.


>Not only are you supporting my argument, you're also showcasing how ridiculously inefficient the hiring process is

I don't think the GP was arguing with you; was the poster's first comment on this article.


Not really.

I'm paid to work 40h/week.

Am I going to be expected to be working more than that? If so, I'll pass.

If there's occasional overtime, sure, fine. But do I get paid extra for it? Does it get banked into extra PTO?

And so on, stuff I ask prospective employers in the first conversation.


This isn't how salaried position work though, not in the US anyways. You will get paid X if you work 10 hours a week or X if you work 50 hours a week. There is no difference in pay. Would you be open to losing pay? Do you want to be accountable for every single hour of work you do? Most don't.


I'm not in the US, but I work for a US based company.

My contract specifically says I work 40h/week, have X days off/year (outside of statutory holidays) as PTO, etc.

This means that 5 days a week, I am at my keyboard, available on Slack, etc for 8 hours per day.

Hours are logged in a time tracking application (including time spent when there was nothing to do), and overages get added automatically to holiday time.


Thats a contract position, not a salaried position. Most tech job in the US do not pay hourly. A salaried position says you will make X per year including benefits like unlimited PTO, 401K matching, reserved stock units, discount stock purchasing program, life insurance, medical insurance, etc... There is also no logging of time because your pay cannot be raised or reduced on a weekly basis.


jobs on salaries still have an expectation of how many hours you will work and some provide PTO comp for "overtime". tracking this often does mean filling out a time sheet or punching a clock, even though those times don't directly figure into your paycheck.


This is just simply not true for most tech workers, especially here in California. I'd argue most companies have moved to "unlimited PTO" so that workers are not accruing vacation. Businesses no longer want to have millions of dollars outstanding on their books when it comes to vacation time. I've worked for two Fortune 15 companies, done an IPO, and have consulted with all the big names in the valley, no one is clocking in or filling out time sheets, in fact doing so would put the employer in a precarious/legal situation.

Maybe it's different elsewhere, but where all the tech companies are, it just doesn't work the way you're describing it. If you're being forced to punch a timecard and salaried, I would contact an attorney.


> Maybe it's different elsewhere, but where all the tech companies are, it just doesn't work the way you're describing it. If you're being forced to punch a timecard and salaried, I would contact an attorney.

When I was salaried at a FAANG, they had us start clocking to pay OT when we exceeded 40h, which was most people much of the time. It was a way to keep the pay competitive. This was ten years ago, so no idea if that’s still a thing.


notwithstanding the norm in big tech, what nibbleshifter described is pretty common for salary-earning employees in other industries.


I've been in the workforce for more than a decade and every salaried job was a minimum of 40 hours. At best you could comp time for the next week, but only up to so many hours.

If you were putting less than 40 hours a week in your timesheet, you had to use some form of paid time off (holiday, vacation, sick) or simply not get paid.


This is a difficult topic. We evolved to the 40h/week mentality. This is a big luck for us.

I think things should be more based on goals than on time itself, honestly. What I mean is: if you work 40h but you do not deliver anything, how is that good compared to someone that in 32 delivers more? We have to put ourselves on the side of the employer also, even if some people hate them.


This is a management problem, not an employee problem. Figuring out if I can be outperformed by someone working less hours than me is irrelevant to my relationship to my employer. I'd go further to say that it's irrelevant barring frequency of the event having an impact on the broader job market. For any team, you will have a range of performance. For any individual, you will have different work styles.

This is normal. This is OK.

Asking an employee make this a consideration when negotiating with an employer is a dereliction of duty on behalf of the hiring manager and difficult for the candidate to judge due to information asymmetry. If you're building a team, you should know what kind of talent fits on it and make an offer on those merits. That's what being a hiring manager entails.


There is always a feedback cycle also I think. You can tell your manager why something could work or not. The manager is the responsible from the direction POV but it is also true that we are responsible to some extent of how we perform. Maybe not from an executive or strategic POV but yes from a deliver-what-you-are-asked for POV.

What I mean, all in all, is: we all should care. That's why it is called an organization.

I agree with job about the job of a manager. I am just telling you that each one has her responsibility. All of us.


I don't disagree with the fact that we should manage our performance (and career growth!), but this is a problem for after one is hired. I'm not even sure how you'd go about putting reasonable or realistic expectations on somebody's performance until you interview them and make them an offer for a specific title or role.

Even then, expectations of what a role does vary from one org to another. I don't think it's realistic to have someone outside of an organization say "I'm a senior/staff engineer" and for that person to have consistent expectations on what that statement means from for a potential employer from one interview to the next.

> I agree with job about the job of a manager. I am just telling you that each one has her responsibility. All of us.

No disagreement there. My intended point is what appropriate expectations are at various points of a potential employees tenure at an organization. A interviewee has no responsibilities: they have no employment contract and no expectations on them other than those a hiring team or manager brings into the room. The responsibilities come after the interviewee agrees to their job responsibilities and signs an employment contract.


Work Life Balance is purely subjective & depends on personal preferences. Your balance in life != mine.

It also depends on :

1. How creative/smart we are in achieving outcomes with less work.

2. Would my company provides a platform to accelerate this?


Whether it's subjective or not doesn't matter to the topic at hand.

The status quo is, you're not getting that information upfront. It would very much be useful for you to know before sinking in several hours of effort and accumulate stress, only to figure out it doesn't at all match your preferences and the remainder of the package doesn't make up for it.

It is also one of the few things that companies can do which won't increase costs when practiced properly. That's the whole point of the root comment, and it falls flat given most job ads are secretive about almost everything.


Sure, your life balance doesn't equal mine. That doesn't mean that either of us should be expected to work more or less. If you want to work more, get a second job or invest time into a structured hobby.

It doesn't generally depend on how creative/smart we are, nor even our outcomes with less work. You working on a task that is easy for you doesn't mean that I should work more and you should work less. It really just means that we can expect different things from you than me, which is realistic so long as they aren't vastly different on the same task.

Work-life balance doesn't really depend on anything the company does other than having policies that allow for it and then actually following through.


OK, but... some places think a "senior software developer" should make $70,000, and other think they should make $250,000 or more. And everything in between.

I don't care how nice the a place it is to work, I'm not applying to the $70k place. If I can't quickly figure out where you fall on that spectrum, I'm not going to bother to contact you because job listings are not rare. If you somehow manage to present as exactly the perfect place to work, I might contact you—to ask what the salary range is, and if you won't say up-front, I'm out.

It takes exactly one time sitting through interviews, having everyone be super excited about hiring you, then naming a totally normal rate when they ask what salary you're looking for, and watching everyone's faces turn green, to never, ever waste time doing that again. I've had mine already.


Honestly I'm considering the $70k place where as right now I have the $500k total comp.

I can't say I hate my job but I have zero interest in it. Where as I had lots of <$100k jobs I loved. My life was better. I only get one life. I'd prefer to live a happy life than a well paid life. Right now I get paid well but my life feels like it's just bleeding away as a drone.

The biggest reason I haven't pulled the trigger is there's no guarntee that taking the $70k will actually be fun this time. I have my criteria for taking the jump though and if they're met I'd do it in a heartbeat.


Yeah 500k all day. People love to preach about secondary benefits, but cold hard cash allows you to pay for most benefits you actually want.

I think work is work, the more a workplaces tries to trick you into believing you're in a family or home environment they're not being clear on the work. Competency trumps all benefits.


Thing is, people live different lifestyles with different priorities.

Sure, if they could press a button and make more, they would, but in reality getting a higher salary requires to change jobs and they often have concerns about moving to a new place, doing something different, working with new people, wondering if they are going to like it or not, which ends up in them settling for a lower salary, especially if that salary covers everything they wanna do.

Often those thoughts are irrational, but thats how humans function.


Save for one year then take 6 years off and come out roughly the same. That seems like an absolute no-brainer to me.


> roughly the same

Except now you have a 6 year gap on your resume to explain and probably a 6 year degradation of skills unless you're really disciplined.


Nobody cares about gaps in resumes. I swear people think it's 1990 still. If you have desirable tech skills, that's all that matters.


> Nobody cares about gaps in resumes. I swear people think it's 1990 still.

False. I took five years to explore personal projects and then couldn’t get a callback to save my life. After landing a menial temp job, suddenly I got calls and interviews and landed a real job in no time. A huge gap can torpedo your efforts.


So what? Depending on the OPs age that might be just fine. And their skills could very well improve, it all depends on what they do in that time.

That kind of freedom is normally only reserved for the kids of the very wealthy, and it opens up all kinds of opportunities.


Not possible because their $500k/year likely only materializes after vesting. Leaving after only 3-4 years on the job would mean the realized yearly comp is closer to 200-250k.


Sorry but that's not how it works. $500k/year would mean roughly $250k base+bonus and $1 million of stocks vested over four years. And at most companies, the vesting starts after 1 year. So at the end of year one, you would have made $500k in base+bonus+stocks. And after that you would usually get the stocks every quarter so $62.5k worth of stocks every quarter. I am not sure where is your figure of 200-250k Total Comp coming from?


When someone says $500k/year, they usually mean a package like $150k base + $350k stocks with yearly grants.

For the standard 4-year vesting schedule, and assuming a new $350k grant every year, this means actual earnings are:

   Year 1: $150k + $0        $150k
   Year 2: $150k + $87.5k    $237.5k
   Year 3: $150k + $87.5k*2  $325k
   Year 4: $150k + $87.5k*3  $412k
If you leave here, at year 4, and lose all unvested options (expected), your actual average was $281k/year.

Only by year 5 you'll finally actually earn the $500k/year, and the vesting schedule has such an impact on the early earnings that even after a decade, your yearly average is still $400k.

Not to forget taxes. So the idea to "save for one year then take 6 years off" is kinda off the menu unless they've been at the company for a long, long time, or are willing to spend those 6 years living in Thailand.


$500K / year at year four is something entirely different than $500K / year. And that's what the OP said they were making.


How often do people get one large grant upfront, vs yearly refreshers? I was under the impression the latter is the norm.


There are plenty of people making $500K total comp annually right here on HN.


Yearly refreshers come on top of the initial large grant - I've never seen a place that had yearly refreshers without an initial grant.


My last job started vesting on Day 1. It was pretty nice.


I've found lower paying jobs typically treat you worse but YMMV.


Yep, funny how that goes but it's true.


You don't kick your prize chicken.


I can see how it sounds pretentious, but it's somewhat true. After you have the limits of your financial investments explorable, you aren't just going to ignore the potentially soul destroying daily grind. You do it if it does something for you, and if you're basically rich, you might as put your energy in a different place.

But you're right, the 70k place might be just as much work, but they just don't make that much money, or any other series of situations.


Let's say you're in your 20s, single and want to travel the world.

500k requires you to live in San Francisco, commute to the office every day at strict hours and is at a soul crushing, bureaucratic big corp.

70k allows you to work from anywhere in the world, async an on your own schedule. Also, you get more vacation. 6k USD per month is a lot in many countries.

If you want to live now not later, I can see why you'd choose the 70k job.


That's true, but you could also just work the 500k job for 5 years and then possibly (semi) retire. 2.5 million before taxes is a pretty nice chunk to have before your late 20s. It's just delayed gratification.


There exists jobs that would be better paid than the $70k and be more fun than the soul crushing very high income terrible job.


Out of curiosity, what were those sub-$100k jobs you loved?


We can swap if you like. I make $55K.


i ran into a regional bank who wanted to pay a principal engineer $115K to build their entire digital customer facing platform

i was stunned


Plot twist, that was the monthly rate.


What you are likely running into the the trimodal nature of software salaries [1] that has been extensively discussed here on HN in the past. tl;dr there exists (supposedly) in the global market, 3 tiers of tech companies, with 3 distinct salary ranges.

[1] https://blog.pragmaticengineer.com/software-engineering-sala...


My father once told me that money is how the company tells you how much they value you.

It isn't just about the money, it's about the respect. Many, many people leave jobs because of the salary. Not just they need more money, but because they know they're worth more than that and can get it.

Those people are not going to bother looking at jobs that pay less than they're worth. They are absolutely going to look at the money first, and other benefits after. All those benefits matter, but money is the one that's forced their hand. And by extension, respect.


To follow up on this point. It's not just the amount that is about pay either... it's the fact that, during the job seeking process, you as an employer respect me enough to be transparent about what you're paying.

And, on a personal note, transparent wages are known to help break underpayment cycles where workers have been repeatedly underpaid and at each new opportunity their compensation is based on "Well what did you make in your previous job?" - a lack of pay transparency can end up giving people with social difficulties or who are of a visible minority much less take home. I want to work at a company where everyone is respected and valued because those companies are more successful in the long term. "Those who would give up company morale, to purchase a little temporary profit, deserve neither profits nor morale." - Benjamin Franklin (probably)


And, importantly: they indicate to the sitting crew how much they could make in their current jobs if they were to apply externally, and it isn't rare at all for that to be substantially more than they are making at present. So salary transparency helps employees evaluate their position across the board, not just new hires: if things are fair then there is no problem, but if things are not then employers will be loath to create such transparency because it equates to a break-off risk or an across the board raise.


Yeah this is exactly what I just went through, from making $70k-ish in a LCOL area to now triple that without moving. My coworkers knew their pay was low but not by how much. I did the best I could to be transparent with them on my way out. I'm curious just how many of them are planning on staying.


There is a lot more complexity to this.

For example, I used to work in a SCIF for a government contractor in Northern Virginia, making 95k. No windows, no internet, no cell phone, no outside software without an approval process (had to manually burn linux packages to a CD, often multiple times a day because of dependencies).

Then I got a job at Amazon in their Austin location, essentially almost tripling my salary with the stock growth pre pandemic, with way better work environment, way easier work, but also with teammates with way less skill (after all, writing java web services isn't that hard)

So naturally, as my team and teams around us were hiring, to take advantage of the referral bonus, I contact all my old teammates, who would have easily aced the interview because they all had plenty of experience writing low level C code that was highly optimized, to suggest they apply.

Should be a no brainer, Austin had low cost of living back 5 years ago, no state income tax, your would be making way more, right?

Out of the 20 that I contacted, of them wanted to join. A lot of them were either single or with girlfriends, i.e without family, so relocation would not have been an issue. But they were perfectly content being way underpaid, living in a shitty area with high CoL. Still to this date don't know why. Seems like people value a certain things other than money.


A lot of them were either single or with girlfriends, i.e without family, so relocation would not have been an issue.

Just because someone is single doesn't mean they don't have family and friends in the area. The further the move, the less contact they have with their existing social network. Not everyone is up for that, especially if you are moving a decent distance (like between states).


Oy, yeah. Getting people to even consider changing jobs is really tough. I've been surprised by it in the past, but I'm less and less surprised by it as I see it happen more.

I feel some of it myself, so I can understand it, but it's crazy hard for so many people.


Respect to your father, who knew what he was talking about.

In a similar story, my father once told me, "People are always happy to pay you less than you are worth."


It also provides insight into the type of talent you can expect to work with. I work best when working with smart people that I can learn from and that challenge me. On the average, those types aren't going to be found in workplaces that aren't aggressive in how they compensate talent.


> If your primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary you are not going to be happy where you work. I promise.

I don't really care about your promise because after many (too many?) years in business and seeing a lot of companies from the inside without any restrictions I can tell you that companies that paid at or above market rates generally had better work/life balance than the ones that did not and the people I spoke there definitely seemed substantially happier than in the places where they were paying below market rate.

In those places salary was usually just one indicator of many where incompetent management was showing through. Either you're a founder or you should make a very decent wage and anybody that tries to tell you that their crap salary is made up trough fringe benefits is taking advantage of you (or at least trying to do so). That you managed to trick some more qualified people into responding that otherwise would have rejected you out of hand is not a positive for them, it's a positive for you.

Employees can use a salary range to quickly weed out the employers to avoid from the ones to talk to and I would reverse your statement to 'If you are looking for a place that won't make you feel bad start with salary'.


This is a really good point. Bad management/strategy leads to all sorts of corporate dysfunction, and many times that shows through in either unwillingness or inability to pay market-level salaries for good developers who have options in the wider market.


> If your primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary you are not going to be happy where you work.

Look, it doesn't make sense to respond to ads for positions where there's no reasonable way that I'd accept the job based on comp.

For the most part, I've been an entrepreneur / my own boss. But I remember 2 interview processes where money was talked about too late (one for a consulting job, and one for a full time position) and the offer was abusively low. I think there was the hope that I would try to justify the sunk cost of the interviewing process by taking the deal.

There's a lot of talk that not posting ranges can contribute to discriminatory practices. I think this could be true -- I think of wife's experience as she was entering the workforce. She was president of the mech-eng honor society, magna cum laude from a highly ranked university, with better work experience than most graduates. Multiple employers gave her absurdly lowball offers after she interviewed-- literally half of the average going rate for new grads-- perhaps mistaking her warmness for being willing to roll over and not negotiate. (She ultimately got a gig in the upper quartile).

P.S. Now I make about 3-6% of what I could make elsewhere-- I'm a middle school teacher. There was no need to surprise me with the number at the end to get me to take this offer. Salary isn't the end-all, be-all, but keeping it opaque concentrates too much power with the employer and that power is often used for dubious ends.


I don't know why you'd be surprised by this. If you were giving away milk, you'd get a better response from an ad that said "Free Milk" than an ad that said "Free Expired Milk," even though the milk you're giving away is expired.

You're concealing relevant information in order to sucker in people who have no interest. It's the central mechanism behind "linkbait" headlines. It's just a dark pattern.

People who were not interested in a job with your salary range responded to ads that omitted the salary range. They heard you out because they had already committed their time to reach out to you. This basically shifts hiring costs onto the applicants in that they have to waste their time discussing a job they would never take because you held back the information they needed to know that it was a job they would never take.

Somehow, you've found a way to rationalize this as passion.


> you'd get a better response from an ad that said "Free Milk" than an ad that said "Free Expired Milk,"

But he said he got better candidates with the ad that didn't post salary ranges. If I understand your analogy, that's like (counterintuitively) getting more responses for the expired milk.


No, it's not. They probably got responses from better candidates on the one with no salary range posted because if those candidates knew what the salary range was beforehand, they wouldn't have applied at all.

The better question is were they able to hire any of those better candidates after they told them that the milk was expired?


It could simultaneously be true that including a good salary range increases the number of applicants who are good fits for the role, and also true that including a good salary range decreases the average quality of candidates.

One way you might see that effect is if both candidates who are good fits for the role and candidates who are bad fits for the role apply more often when a high salary is posted, but the number of bad fits increases faster than the number of good fits (e.g. because there is some subset of people who will send their application to every role that pays over a certain threshold whether or not they are qualified).

If it's sufficiently costly to distinguish qualified from unqualified candidates, the company might be better off not showing a salary range, even accounting for how it causes good people not to apply. That approach does feel like an inelegant hack to get around their inability to easily tell whether someone would actually perform well in the role though, so addressing that root cause would be better in that scenario if they could figure out how to do it.


Another, simpler option:

When you put a range of $100-120k, the very high quality candidate who won't accept an offer less than $150k doesn't apply.

Or, put another way:

> It could simultaneously be true that including a good salary range increases the number of applicants who are good fits for the role, and also true that including a good salary range decreases the average quality of candidates.

Part of "good fit" could be "willingness to accept compensation in range". If the job range says $10/hr, the average quality of applicants will go down because the MIT Ph.D.'s won't apply-- but you weren't going to hire them at $10/hr anyways.


I think parent understands your point, but, it's implied that the salaries were high, so your example doesn't fit.

> Our salary offerings are very aggressive to the developer's benefit

Your example covers the case of "mid-range salary", overqualified applicant doesn't want the job, but wasn't going to get hired anyways because overqualified. Parent's example covers "very high salary", underqualified applicant wants the job just because the number is high. Given the "salary offerings are very aggressive", then why would we be talking about a "mid-range salary" case.


Not who you're asking, but I take "very aggressive to the developer's benefit" with a mountain of salt, because everytime I've come across someone saying that the eventual comp was extremely poor and they were either deliberately lying or completely out of touch with the labor market.


Every time I have a recruiter explicitly tell me that they are "top of market value comp" and keep reiterating it, I already know there's going to be no stock or bonus and the total comp is probably 1/5 of what I get now and "can't" do a signing bonus. I have not had one that doesn't meet this benchmark yet.

The ones that actually pay top of market rate I reach out to, not the other way around.


Yes, that is definitely a possibility. My point was "the average quality of candidates goes down when you post a salary range" can be true even if the salary range is very good.


It's possible, but I don't know that we should rush to believe that's the case based on an anecdote of a single flawed experiment when there's simpler explanations.

(Especially since it's only a problem if the higher pay motivates more bad applicants that are hard to distinguish from good applicants. If it encourages 100 people who have no relevant experience to apply, that brings the average down, but it doesn't increase the probability of making a bad hire.)


It does however increase the level of effort to find the wheat.


You make a good point, except it's moot in this particular case. There is no mention of averages. The best candidates simply responded to the one with no salary range posted.

> The ads performed equally well in regard to total responses with the better candidates responding to the ones without salary ranges


They didn't say how the candidates were better. And if the person judging the candidates knows which position description the candidate replied to then they may be applying their own bias when assessing the candidates.


I think they're implying the salary ranges are actually bad enough to smell like expired milk.


> But he said he got better candidates with the ad that didn't post salary ranges.

He did, and that raises a lot of questions:

Were the ads identical otherwise?

Were the salaries actually competitive or did he just think they were?

Did any of these better candidates actually accept an offer?


> Of the top reasons people are happy at work, salary is way down on the list.

> It is important, it makes it possible to pay bills, but it isn't what makes people happy. Meaning, if you are looking for a place you will enjoy working, do not start with salary.

This feels strange to me… I have a minimum salary for which I wouldn’t consider working for a company even if they offered me flying rainbow unicorns. It’s not a gajillion $FAANG but there is a minimum.

If I can get that at the beginning of the process, this saves both myself and the company time and money.


Likewise, I have a minimum salary for which I will move giant hunks of manure with my bare hands and love it so much I'll sing arias about it while I do so. It's a really big number, but I assure you it exists.


Having actually done this ( taking manure collected at a dairy to a worm farm )... when collected into a pit or large enough pile, the manure re-liquifies under the top layer, so while you do acclimatize to the smell after 15-30 mins, moving it with your hands is not effective.

Whatever that big number is.. double it is what I'm saying!


You think this is true, and might even be willing to go through the motions for the money, but if I expect you to truly love what you do and look for ways to improve the quality and throughput of your manure handling operations the money is not a good indicator or motivator.


If I truly love what I do, I'm going to respect my work enough to demand excellent compensation when I do work for others.

Anyway, do you apply this logic to your other vendors? Do you tell your accountant that you'll only pay them 70% of market because they should love what they do so much they shouldn't care what you pay them? They'd laugh you out of the room, and rightly so.


I am a bit suspicious you have more than enough money to be financially independent already - for folks who have bills over their head causing constant stress no job is going to be enjoyable along as that shade lurks over them.

I enjoy my job and have turned down a few higher salary positions because the stress they would introduce into my life would result in an overall lower quality of living and the amount their offering isn't enough for me to burn myself out for a few years to coast for the rest of my life... but my SO is nearing retirement and is slowly working to scale back their working hours - the loss of their income will mean a return to the drawing board and more math to make sure we can continue live comfortably.


> You think this is true, and might even be willing to go through the motions

A good pun.

The money stops being enough after a surprisingly short time. It would be interesting to see how long people could stomach terrible work for great pay.


> The money stops being enough

You have capped your own imagination. Whatever number you are considering, while you still think this is true, multiply it by 100.

> terrible work

I should clarify that I specifically mean unpleasant work. If it's literally killing me by say, inhalation of aerosolized pig brains or standing in cyanide or something, deal's off.


> The money stops being enough after a surprisingly short time. It would be interesting to see how long people could stomach terrible work for great pay.

You wouldn't need to because if the pay is so great you can soon retire.


I'm sure Amazon HR has a lot of data on this question.


wouldn't it have to be "go through the movements" to count as a pun on bowel movements? Or is there another sense I'm missing?


Bowel motion is a common phrase where I am. Bowel movement is too.


If I have to shovel shit with my bare hands for a few months and it means I'll be financially independent for the rest of my life, you bet I'll love the manure out of that job!


I'll bite. Would you take the job for $300 000?


These comments are absurd considering farmhands get paid minimum wage to shovel huge pieces of manure


Each person’s opportunity cost is different. A farmhand shoveling huge pieces of manure for minimum wage probably does not have better options, whereas a software developer already earning a few hundred thousand does.


Former software developer now ex-con. I would take this job for $50000. Also acceptable, $30000. Sad reality, I worked way way worse for way less than either of those two dream salary ranges.


It's the singing arias about it that people are balking at.


I would do that for $1000 per hour.


missing at least one zero


I'd do it for $300k ...hourly.


"Thank you for considering us, but we were able to fill the position with a more-experienced candidate whose salary requirements were more in line with..."


OK now we're definitely drifting into fantasy territory.

A company specifying an actual reason for rejecting a candidate? In writing??

(/j)


this is a really hard thing to study empirically, but the data I've seen DOES reflect your personal experience. The hard parts are:

1. The correlation is weak

2. It drops really quickly after satisifying the minimum

3. it's very different for every individual

Good recruiters try to look for compatibility here very early in the process; unfortunately most recruiters are not good.


Just saying, I don't believe any of this. I think it's anecdotal at best. People want to be paid the most amount of money they can for the work they're doing. Maybe the work doesn't make them happy, that's why it's called work, but why would I want to work for a company that pays half for the same work when I can make double elsewhere? You do realize the decade old article you're linking to contradicts what you are claiming right out of the gate?

    "A 2014 SAP survey found that compensation is the #1 factor that matters most to employees"
and

    "Another survey by the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) conducted in 2013 also found that compensation and pay was the #1 factor contributing to job satisfaction"


I think you're reading the rather poor evidence in a pretty tilted way. "Attractive fixed salary" is not "way down on the list"; it's #8 on a top 10 list in a "study" (cough survey) that considered 26 factors. Further "salary" and "attractive fixed salary" are not the same; perhaps people enjoy a competitive base salary plus a performance bonus. And frankly you say "salary is a sign of respect from you (sic) employer", and you highlight a consultant claiming that the most important thing is "Appreciation for your work" ... why would people believe you appreciate their work if they're not compensated well?

The OP also doesn't say that their "primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary"; they may also be filtering aggressively based on the industry, tech stack, role, etc, and also filtering based on salary.


> The ads performed equally well in regard to total responses with the better candidates responding to the ones without salary ranges.

> And... before you say, perhaps your salary ranges were bad, they weren't. Our salary offerings are very aggressive to the developer's benefit. In my opinion, salary is a sign of respect from you employer.

What's your hypothesis for why they performed worse? If I saw a listing for a job I wanted, for which I was qualified and had a salary range within my target, you'd better believe I'd apply for it. The Occam's Razor explanation is that the listed ranges were below more experienced candidates' expectations for the position.


Wouldn't the test of that question be whether they were able to hire the stronger candidates within the listed salary range?

I could see other things swaying stronger candidates away from applying to the jobs with salary ranges; it can be difficult to tell the distribution of salaries within the range, so perhaps they didn't want to risk being offered at the lower end of the range.


Sure, but I think "the lower end of the range is too low" is basically equivalent to "the salary range is bad".


>Of the top reasons people are happy at work, salary is way down on the list. [0] It is important, it makes it possible to pay bills, but it isn't what makes people happy.

This is bad analysis. Employees will already self-select based on pay.

I would bet you real money right now that if you polled employees as they left the company what their future salary is going to be, the majority will be making more.


This. There's a huge selection bias: people saying that they're (un)happy with this or that have already accepted the position they're in, so they were at least moderately happy with their compensation when they started, while they had mostly no idea about the other aspects of the job.


Salary is not a "sign of respect" it is an indicator of how the company makes money and values software engineers. Software companies have software margins other companies... do not. Software engineers want to work at companies where software is the product because:

1. They get to contribute more to the success of the company

2. What they built typically has real users

3. They are valued and get paid commensurately with the near infinite leverage they bring to the company.

4. They get to work with other like minded software engineers.

5. There is probably an established career path for them if they perform well.

Good engineers typically ALREADY work at a place they enjoy. The market is too competitive for good talent to put up with any BS whatsoever. You are trying to get them to leave a good place for another hopefully better place. However, there is risk because they don't know your company/have to trust you a bit. You MUST compensate for this risk.

My risk premium is easily a 25-50% salary increase. Which means I need a job to pay about $100-200k more or have significant high probability upside (IPO etc.) for me to jump all else equal (passion products maybe an exception).

If you waste my time with a job ad that doesn't tell me up front what to expect I will:

1. Not accept your interview request or offer.

2. Will flame your company throughout my entire network.

Also if you want me to do a "take home" anything that will be $500/hr with a max of 4 hours spent.


The link you posted presents studies which found the opposite conclusion.

>A 2014 SAP survey found that compensation is the #1 factor that matters most to employees.

>Another survey by the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) conducted in 2013 also found that compensation and pay was the #1 factor contributing to job satisfaction

Then later,

>Several other studies have also emerged around what employees care about at work but the most recent one from Boston Consulting Group which surveyed over 200,000 people around the world is one of the most comprehensive. Unlike previous studies which may point to flexibility or salary as the top factor for job happiness, BCG found that the #1 factor for employee happiness on the job is get appreciated for their work!

I don't know much about Boston Consulting Group, but my intuition says they may have been contracted by higher-ups with the intention of finding that exact conclusion. Cynical, yes, but so often that's how these consulting-funded-research-studies end up being. I can't speak for anyone else, but compensation is still above and beyond the most important factor when considering a job.


I think the difference is that the OP is talking about being "happy at work". I don't think about compensation while working, it doesn't really affect your work environment.

Compensation is important because of what you can do with it outside of work.


You never have the thought, "I'm not being payed enough for this shit?"

Or, realized new hires with less experience are being payed more? Or that colleagues that are slacking are being payed the same or more?

All these feel like concerns related to pay while working. I've certainly had those thoughts and was genuinely underplayed for half my career


> You never have the thought, "I'm not being payed enough for this shit?"

More like "no amount of money is enough to make me happy doing this shit"


I would be thrilled to take some pretty "miserable" programming work for 7 digit compensation.


There's a difference between happy to have that pay and being happy at work.

It's also not just the programming itself. I would turn down 7 digit compensation if it was going to mean intense burn out, depression and/or anxiety due to toxic management and impossible demands. The toll that shit takes on my personal life, my families lives and the way it removes my ability to even enjoy having that money for years afterwards isn't worth it.


For me, salary is a prerequisite, not a final selection point. It's one I drop potential jobs from my list of consideration because while happiness is indeed the most important one, being underpaid is definitely not going to make me happy.

I just have a salary range I am aiming for, especially because I compare it to my current job where I have a permanent contract. Like the OP said, it's super annoying to go through the process and then get a low-ball offer.

I recently turned down a job at a very big company for that reason. When I said no they said it's a really good career move working for them and I would rise up fast. They have candidates begging to work there. But no I'm not taking less than I'm getting right now (after standards of living correction)


<em>Meaning, if you are looking for a place you will enjoy working, do not start with salary.</em>

I'm not. Work is work. It's how I pay for my life. I want a job that doesn't make me miserable, and is constrained to ~40 hours per week -- but "enjoy" isn't the goal.

Making the maximum amount of money for my labor is the goal. (Without doing things that go against my ethics, or are illegal. I could make more if I had no ethical boundaries, I'm sure.) I have a family, a mortgage, pets with expensive vet needs, and a limited number of years left in my career. "Enjoyment" doesn't pay the bills, supply health coverage to my dependents or put money in the bank to cushion any economic downturns, etc.

I wish I'd had this attitude starting in my early 30s. I wouldn't be working now at all and could actually do things I enjoy with all my time and not just a sliver of it.


A salary isn't a reason to be happy to work. It answers the question "how will this change the lifestyle of my family and I?" It is useful to know because a sufficient salary is one of the few 100% hard-line conditions for applying to a place, so posting it saves everybody time.


Without knowing your full methodology I can't tell you what went wrong with your study, but: I work for a very very large recruiting/HR tech company. Our data across millions of jobs shows the opposite.


Keep in mind it’s really easy to trick yourself into believing the salaries you’re offering are aggressive.

I bet 80% of companies would say they have above average salaries.


> I bet 80% of companies would say they have above average salaries.

And it might be true. E.g., they are all paying the same, and the remaining 20% are driving the average down.


All our salaries are based upon most recent data assembled by market across the country and, in the case of this round of hiring, +10% to deal with the current inflation conditions.

So, I am not just 'saying'. I have data. Careful research goes into making sure our employees are paid in pace or exceeding the market.


This is what everyone says. "we know our salary is competitive because we benchmark it against the market". Most benchmarks for tech companies are dogshit though.


Yep I was going to say the same. My recent gig was like this, they paid a consultant firm big money to find out what the "market rate" was, around when I was hired, and when they finished and my boss spoke to me about it, he was like, "well you are way beyond the market rate they determined." My response was, "well are they going to try to claw some money out of my salary" and he kind of laughed and said no.

And turnover here is super high due to salary.


What's the number?

Every time I've encountered someone claiming they offered "aggressive" salaries, they were not in fact doing so.

Those who actually are offering aggressive salaries just put the number out there and let people decide for themselves.


K, then how much? List the number or you're just blowing smoke


How much you paying for a python dev with 6 years of experience?


Very poor advice. Salary is a huge part of job satisfaction. I normally line up multiple offers at places I'd like to work and negotiate on the salary. If a place I really want to work can't offer me compensation that the market is already offering me, then by definition that place isn't a good place to work. They don't value my labour.


Don't be a zombie. Don't feed the zombies. Knowing the price range the company can afford tells me if this is a zombie company (a company that is dead if it has to pay the going rate but stays 'alive' by hiring people willing to settle for less (students getting experience, self taught people, exploited desperate people, etc)). I have worked at plenty of zombie companies, from ones that thought they were startups, ones using the motivation of making the world better, ones exploiting excon's whose POs require them to have a job as a probation condition with the threat of prison. Every single one EXPLOITs you somehow (using FOMO, passion, compassion, the threat of your freedom). Do not go to work for a zombie company, and let legit businesses know they present themselves as a zombie business when they fail to publish salary ranges.


Salary is great criterion to pick an employer.

Underpaying employees is a clear sign that a company tries to exploit them. So it creeps in work life balance, unlimited responsibilities, abusive management etc

It is also a clear sign that they do not value the work that these employees are doing.

So if a company pays pennies for example for ML engineers, you know that they don’t have vision to grow there, they are just checking boxes.

On the other hand if employees are greatly compensated that means that the company is looking for the greatest talent out there, so they are seriously invested in the area, aka you have good potential to grow.

Also companies that compensate great have no incentive to abuse their super stars. Exactly because they have invested a lot.

So money is the first and only measurable criterion to reject an employer before even finishing the interview loops.


Whether or not I enjoy working somewhere is a secondary consideration. My primary consideration is my ability to support my family. If I didn’t need an income to support my family, I wouldn’t look for a job in the first place.

Once I have a job, I’ve already agreed that the salary is adequate, or else I wouldn’t have accepted the job offer. So the salary isn’t going to be a factor for me one way or the other afterwards. But that’s a different question from whether salary is a factor before you go through the hiring process.


> The ads performed equally well in regard to total responses with the better candidates responding to the ones without salary ranges.

Maybe your company is known for paying well or well-enough, have you considered that?

> If your primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary you are not going to be happy where you work.

That's very debatable, and that's to say the least (and to say it politely).

For a lot of people a salary bump that eases financial pressure is a big boon on mental health, positivity and ultimately happiness.

And by the way, a lot of people will not be "happy" in the purest sense of the work at any job. Work is ultimately the chore we all do to exist. Maybe work is the ultimate chore.

We do our best to make the pill taste less sour, but very few of the people that do "code for passion" (or some other thing) would work on the same business related problem if they had no need for money. They would probably work on something else, which is very unlikely to overlap with some random jira ticket or something.


> If your primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary

This never get's any less ridiculous the more it is repeated. It's like some sort of stockholm syndrome thing.

I'm responding to a JOB ad, the thing where you trade your time for money. There are many criteria I use to decide if I'll be happy somewhere besides money, but they are all irrelevant if I'm not properly paid because, you know, that's why I'm taking a salary job instead of doing my own thing.

It's funny how no one makes the same advice on the other side. Oh yeah, this person is incompetent, but it's not really about the work right? We are a big family, let's make him a VP because he's really fun to get a beer with.

The same logic also never seems to apply when security is escorting you out because of layoffs and treating you like a criminal. (never happened to me personally but it surely happens to A LOT of people. Like 10s of thousands in the last month)


> If your primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary you are not going to be happy where you work

You might not be wrong, but a higher salary makes me less miserable than a lower salary


> Meaning, if you are looking for a place you will enjoy working, do not start with salary.

I get where you are coming from, but at least here in Texas, a job with the title “Project Manager” can be a low-end job paying 50k to a senior position paying 250k or more. Salary is often the only way to tell them apart because the wording that recruiters use are typically identical (or very close to it).

Not sure if this is common or uncommon, but I wanted to share that sometimes these things are important for other reasons.


That's surprising to me. What statistical measures did you use to make sure your conclusion wasn't confirmation bias?


Also how did you prevent people finding both postings? When searching for jobs if identical they will appear in the same list. Also the smart ones applying will apply on the one without because of all the various biases that the poster has and they will play some reverse psychology.


yes, this is a major flaw in their analysis. there's no way to draw a reliable conclusion because the experiment is uncontrolled in this way, among other factors (like the subjective evaluation of candidate quality which was also uncontrolled for).


That is a great question.

Regarding performance of responses I am referring to count of unique respondents meeting minimum requirements.

Regarding 'better candidates', this is based upon the count of candidates which made it through team interviews and coding challenges.

Our process requires multiple manager/leader approvals at each step of the process which is intended to reduce bias.

It is possible the soft attributes of personality and communication are reflected better in one group than the other. I do not have evidence but is a possible source of unintended bias.


I have salary requirements that have to be met, full stop, or I cannot waste my time talking to you. There is nothing you can do to convince me to go below my bottom line. I have bills to pay and my family is used to a particular lifestyle. "Hey kids, you're going to public school next year so daddy can chase a dream he had in his early 20s!" ain't gonna fly.


People say alot of things that do not match reality, this is why these kind of self reporting surveys are bunk.

People work for money, plain and simple. If the salary is not there people walk. Period. This is more than just "pay the bills" but Pay the Bills + Savings + retirement + Kids + hobbies + etc.

10 years ago the "magic number" where salary started to become less important was 75K, today (and I have not seen the research) but my guess that is closer to 100-120K before your idea of "salary is not the most important thing" comes into play, even then though it will be in the top 5 until you are well in the 1 percent category which is 400-500K +


As far as day-to-day satisfaction on the job, sure, salary could be way down the list compared to company culture and work/life balance. But I think we should acknowledge that salary is the only reason any of us work at all. If the salary is bad everything else will crumble around it regardless of how excellent culture and work/life balance are. If the salary is good there's no guarantees, but there's at least the potential for on the job satisfaction. Salary is the foundation. The exception to this is charity work for purely mission driven work, but that's not the work context for the majority of people.


> Meaning, if you are looking for a place you will enjoy working, do not start with salary.

Assuming you're discussing engineering roles, this is a dangerous attitude.

Engineering is an economic force multiplier; meaning, the monetary value of the results is worth many multiples of the monetary value of the engineering labor put in.

Seeking a fair salary upfront ensures a few things. One of the most important is the value of the result of the labor. As a top software engineer; I only want to work on products that are significantly valuable. (And then I want my fair share of the profits, too.)


Are you a locally/globally known company or raised funds recently?

I'd still apply to a unicorn, or a company who I know just raised $20M,because I know they can afford it and already pay at/above market.

Salary is not the primary reason, it's a bare minimum requirement, and if it's not completely obvious that the company is willing to pay enough, I won't click on it, let alone apply.

> with the better candidates responding to the ones without salary ranges.

They responded but did the better candidates accept an offer and work for you now?


I always like to start with the salary. I don't think I've ever been disappointed when a job pays me more, because it drives me to be worth the money more...

Otherwise we (Me and the recruiter) both end up wasting each other's time once I find out the salary is below market value. Honesty is key, positive company culture should be a common expectation in all roles, it's not worth sacrificing income for in my opinion.

One of the best career moves I can make is to ensure I am being paid properly for every job I accept. The most defeating experience is accepting a job that pays under market standard when roles and responsibilities are always guaranteed to increase and often become overburdening without overtime... I also live in an "At will" state, and that makes employers pretty careless about retaining me when their budgets on other projects suffer.

As a senior employee who has done everything from Development to Architecture to Proposals to Project Management, Companies often try to seek advantage for hiring me at a lower rate for just one of those skills, but then often pile on the other roles and work hard to tap my experience/knowledge/contacts for free... In cases like that, a company becomes one in the same as an employee that lied on their resume.

It's akin to being on a dating site... We all need to stop wasting each other's time and find the right matches that are well suited to each job. Listing salary is like a suitor listing their age on their dating profile... Pretty essential every time.


I don't know any programmers who are responding to an ad because of the salary. I know a lot who are filtering out ads because of the salary and then choosing from the ones that include it. If you want to argue that salary doesn't matter then don't take one.


I'm not really happy at any job, I would rather be doing something else. Especially with remote work as there are no real relationships built. But the higher the salary the more I can do the things that make me happy. Salary also allows me to take care of my family, pay for their college etc. I would be willing to bet that most (not all) the hiring mangers saying money doesn't matter are the ones offering salaries on the lower end. It's a job I want to get paid as much as I can as I am selling hours of my life to make someone else rich. Are the higher level people also taking lower salaries and lower equity in exchange for happiness? Maybe sometimes but often probably not.

"Meaning, if you are looking for a place you will enjoy working, do not start with salary." Are you suggesting people go through multiple rounds of interviews with no idea of what the salary is for the position? Of course you start with salary otherwise everyone is just wasting their time. If the company does not want to discuss salary up front then there is probably a pretty good reason for that and it's not a place I want to work as this trend would likely continue come raise and promotion time as well. It's the same companies demanding loyalty and offering none.


>If your primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary you are not going to be happy where you work. I promise. Of the top reasons people are happy at work, salary is way down on the list. [0] It is important, it makes it possible to pay bills, but it isn't what makes people happy.

Generally when you get people for whom salary is way down on the list, you get morons. But I think you are indeed looking for morons. So your strategy will work.


Salary might not be the primary consideration, but IMHO it's absolutely necessary to at least post the range. no matter how good the job sounds otherwise, a salary that's too low is a huge red flag that they're not going to treat you well otherwise.

as you say, the salary is a sign of respect from your employer, and including that number in the job ad is an easy way to signal to prospective employees exactly how much you respect them.


> The ads performed equally well in regard to total responses

Good sample size. This probably tells us that there isn't much difference posting salary and the people applying to each. This may be unsurprising since not posting salaries is already the norm.

> better candidates responding to the ones without salary ranges

I have a feeling that this is a particularly low (and highly noisy) sample.

I think you are overstating the significance of your results.


> Of the top reasons people are happy at work, salary is way down on the list

You're conflating being happy at work and being happy to accept a job offer. You can be pretty well paid, and end up being not happy, and vice-versa.

If the offer is not good enough, the applicant won't accept it. What happens after you join a company doesn't have to be related to how much you get paid -- although it can be, sometimes.


>If your primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary you are not going to be happy where you work. I promise.

I don't know man, if I got paid a metric *!&@ ton of money to do a really garbage job, I may very well be happy doing it for 12mo and building a big fat nest egg, or clearing major debt.

Many of us are willing to sacrifice QoL/workplace culture/etc. if the price is right. If we don't know the salary upfront, you're simply asking us to invest time and energy (and maybe even fall for a sunk cost situation) for the promise that we maybe guessed the magic number you could have told us out the gate. Not to mention if I'm talking to 2 companies I need all the information I can possibly get my hands on to make an informed decision.

We don't have to love our jobs. Some do, some don't. But you don't get to presume what motivates us or, better still, tell us our motivations are wrong. That's up to us to decide.


I am a bit skeptical.

Paying far below the market doesn't necessarily make you a worse or better place to work for... but typically while salary won't improve how things go in a company... they are a core reason why I am even there...

Like... The comfort and performance of a car will not be affected by the price. I can love a certain car, even if it is cheaper or 20k over what it should cost. That won't matter. But I won't buy the car if I am not comfortable paying for it. The car would be just as great, but if it was out of my price range, I am still suffering for it.

Now cars are priced relatively close to their actual worth, and all car prices are well known vs hidden behind 7 hours of interviews and "don't talk about your salary" policies. So this is the playing field we're creating with salaries being up-front.

I have turned down many job interviews because I said my salary requirements during our opening call. Sure it wasn't part of the posting, but it better be an early conversation otherwise why would I leave a comfortable job for a lower pay?

When people respond to online job postings, it is often because they are already really unhappy, or need a job because they lost theirs, so the numbers may be skewed due to needs.

So what is my point? idk... probably recruiter outreach should have salary info. For job postings... my bet is recruiters know response rates better than I do. :P

Edit: Post interviews, I have taken lower paying job offers compared to other offers because after talking to the teams I predicted the money was worth losing over happiness. So money is certainly isn't everything, but it is an important aspect. I assure you I will deal with extra stress for 500k because I know at home I'll get the support needed and the extra money will change our lives. But would I do the same for 10k? hell no.


>And... before you say, perhaps your salary ranges were bad, they weren't. Our salary offerings are very aggressive to the developer's benefit.

Tell us the numbers. Otherwise I call bullshit…


>And... before you say, perhaps your salary ranges were bad, they weren't. Our salary offerings are very aggressive to the developer's benefit. In my opinion, salary is a sign of respect from you employer.

Let's see your salary range numbers and what tier you fall under.

https://blog.pragmaticengineer.com/software-engineering-sala...

Are you in Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3?

Are you paying your mid-level engs over $200k total when including stock and bonus? That's the minimum benchmark I would use for my next job hunt. 120k+ for juniors, 200k+ for mid, 300k+ for senior, 400k+ for anything above senior.


I would love to hit that senior/above senior range working remote from the midwest, but everybody I talk to adjusts heavily for COL.


> before you say, perhaps your salary ranges were bad, they weren't.

Care to mention what they are? Because I suspect your ranges are out of line with industry standards that have risen quite rapidly.

I know because I've started responding to any recruiters that sound interesting asking for comp ranges and they are all below my current base, let alone TC.

If the upper bound of your range doesn't exceed $350k there is no chance that any of the senior engineers I know will apply and honestly to get something to think about leaving a job they are moderately happy with you'd have to have that be the lower bound of your range.

But I suspect you're posting ranges that are less than or barely over 200k at the upper end.


> If the upper bound of your range doesn't exceed $350k there is no chance that any of the senior engineers I know will apply and honestly to get something to think about leaving a job they are moderately happy with you'd have to have that be the lower bound of your range.

Outside of SV, that upper-bound is an absolutely wild number.


That's not true at all anymore, at least not for TC.

An insane number of startups have IPO'd in the last two years, and even with stock drops a lot of people suddenly have RSUs. In addition the rise in remote work has meant that near SV pay is much easier to obtain. Very few of my friends live in SV and I only know a few who aren't making at least that amount at the senior level.

That number is not at all wild for an upper-bound.


> That's not true at all anymore, at least not for TC.

OP was discussing salary range, not total comp--but I'd be a little surprised to find that even TC at the $350k range at the top outside of SV firms is quite high.

I'm not totally persuaded by levels.fyi, but looking at metros at 90th percentile of SWE total comp:

  Bay Area - 425k
  Los Angeles - 325k
  NYC - 343k
  Denver - 298k
  Boston - 273k
  Austin - 268k
  Chicago - 260k
  NoVA / DC - 237k
  Salt Lake City - 221k
  Columbus, OH - 215k
  Phoenix - 213k
  Minneapolis/St Paul - 210k
  Philadelphia - 210k
  Houston - 209k
  Kansas City - 152k
Again, I'm not persuaded that the numbers from Levels are good, but $350k salary at an upper-bound still seems like a high number. $350k TC also seems high--but it's more attainable with RSUs or other equity options.

I'd also be interested to see a breakdown based on the company type. There's room for SWEs in many companies, and the rates might break differently based on whether software is the primary product.


First the OP claims "Our salary offerings are very aggressive", I'm claiming they are not aggressive. I'll agree on the confusion with TC, but I'm also guessing for OP's company Salary == TC.

So right off the bat I'm not sure the point you're making. If the upper limit you are willing to pay does not exceed the 90th percentile TC, by definition you are not offering "very aggressive" pay. There are tons of mediocre, low paying software jobs out there, but posting that you are one of those is not going to attract more applicants. OP claims they are not one of those companies, and I disagree.

Second your numbers there aren't conditioning on seniority, and additionally given not only population size but proportion of tech jobs available the Bay area and NYC account for the majority of software jobs out there.

My point still stands that OPs company is in fact not offering "very aggressive" comp. Ignoring seniority (which will be weighted by more junior roles) not having the upper bound of comp being in the 90% means you are not really offering aggressive pay in the most major software markets.


Have an upvote.

> So right off the bat I'm not sure the point you're making.

That 350k yearly salary is a high number. Attainable, sure, but high, and not representative of typical SWE jobs for most people, senior-level included. Not that people cannot or don't make that, but that it's probably not the norm.

> If the upper limit you are willing to pay does not exceed the 90th percentile TC, by definition you are not offering "very aggressive" pay.

What qualifies as "very aggressive"? 99th? How is this determined? What, typically, is a business's approach towards determining salary ranges for positions?

FAANGs perhaps don't have to observe that approach, I suppose, given their resourcing and scale, but in my experience it's done by market comps.

> Second your numbers there aren't conditioning on seniority,

Fair enough: it does have an impact on the percentiles. I can't easily get them from Levels thanks to the relatively coarse granularity, but a couple quick observations:

In the Bay Area, the top 100 salaries for 5-10 YOE ("senior engineer" per Levels) have substantially higher rates of total comp: $710k-2+M (n=1 here). Most of this is not base salary (which topped out short of $400k) but stock and bonus.

Top 100 in NYC are similar, though smaller proportionately (tops out at 1.5M TC, N=1).

Top 100 in NoVA/DC is markedly lower (tops out at $500k TC).

> and additionally given not only population size but proportion of tech jobs available the Bay area and NYC account for the majority of software jobs out there.

With respect to where SW Eng jobs are located, that's a great question. I'm not sure how to quantify this very well, but for grins, I tried searching for senior-level positions on Indeed and LinkedIn.

Indeed found ~33k jobs, of which ~12k are represented in the locations on which I could filter. Of those 12k, 6021 were on the coasts (I counted anything in Washington, California, NoVA, NYC as coastal jobs but excluded lower-cost areas like Atlanta); I realize not all of these are in SV proper, but I think it probably captures the idea of high-cost/high-value markets for SWEs, and it makes the numbers more favorable against my point above. 3087 were listed as remote.

It's not well controlled, but Indeed's numbers suggest about 20% are in SV or SV-lite areas, and about 10% remote.

LinkedIn's job filters are maybe a bit more sophisticated? but don't offer the same sort of numerical granularity. I picked senior+ SW titles in the US (so included Lead, Principal), of which 43k+ hits were returned. The top ten markets they offer for search (Seattle, Austin, Boston, Atlanta, Charlotte, NYC, San Fran, Chicago, Sunnyvale, and LA) account for 11k results, about 25%. Excluding low-cost areas (Charlotte and Atlanta) returns 9K results, also about 20%.

So I don't feel terribly uncomfortable positing that of widely-advertised jobs, the high-value markets might account for 20-25% of the SWE job market. This is not a vast majority. The numbers could be off, of course--these aren't scientific samples, the searches will naturally have an impact on results, etc. But I don't think most people in software are working in SV, and I don't think most seniors routinely sniff a $350k salary.

Doesn't mean that the OP (GP? GGP?) is paying aggressively or that advertising salary or total comp is a bad idea--just that my initial reaction that $350 is a lot--seems like a reasonable take.


If your upper bound does not greatly exceed that number*, then all of the actually senior folks that I know are not going to be interested in your role. Most of my contacts are outside the Bay.

I know lots of people who would consider applying to your senior role, all else being good, if you're offering, say $250k or so -- but none of them are the people on my mental list of senior engineering contacts. Still, you might hire one of my mid-level engineering contacts, and you might be happy with them, since if you're paying only around $250k (or even only $350k) you probably won't have many of the other group to compare with (and all of the people whose names I'm thinking of are all great engineers)

---

* assuming we're talking total compensation.


> If your upper bound does not greatly exceed that number*, then all of the actually senior folks that I know are not going to be interested in your role. Most of my contacts are outside the Bay.

That's fine--it's still a large number, and most roles simply don't pay it. There are, I'm sure, many openings that can pay sufficiently qualified people quite a lot of money, multiples of $350k. But it's a high number.


>The ads performed equally well in regard to total responses with the better candidates responding to the ones without salary ranges.

Were these better candidates within the budgeted salary range though? Or were they priced too high?


The thing is, people often start with a previous salary and a lifestyle/saving goals such that they have some expectations. Telling people to not start at salary, when most people will do so for good reason, is not particularly useful. I, personally, am not looking for 500k+ craziness, but I am expecting a baseline and you trying to waste time I’m not willing to unless I’m otherwise extremely motivated by what you do (very unlikely) is going to make me pass.

This is essentially Tinder “swipe left or right” and it should treated that way.


> If your primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary you are not going to be happy where you work.

Salary can be both a filter and a sorter.

- I won't apply to a job that pays less than I need to support the life style I want; no other factor can overcome that.

- I am more likely to apply for a job that pays more than a different job, but other things are also part of that sort.

It is entirely possible for salary to be an important part of what is considered when deciding on a job, even a deciding factor, without it being the only thing or even the primary thing.


It feels like there is a data leak built into this test. Imagine ‘better candidate’ sees the posting without salary info. They decide it’s interesting and google ‘salary kokanator’s company’, see the posting with salary info, and decide it meets the bar. Next they either 1) know the salary meets their hurdle and don’t care which posting they apply to or 2) intentionally apply to the posting without salary info in hopes that it keeps salary negotiations open.

Either way, it feels questionable to draw much signal from the process.


Frankly, I think you either didn't do a rigorous experiment, were fooled by randomness, or (most likely) aren't hiring top talent.

Interview loops are an enormous investment of time these days. I'm not going to take one unless I'm confident the offer will come out in an acceptable range.

Maybe you can fool some people with less experience or market power by not giving them the comp info upfront. But not the best.

And don't be surprised when any truly talented folks among your hires leave much earlier than you hoped. Karma.


I think your experience makes sense. Over time, salary has become less than half my total comp. If salary is the headline number in the posting, I'll assume total comp isn't interesting.

Put another way, I'd rather work somewhere that's investing heavily in tech talent and also has good market fit. Stock tends to go up at places like that, so it had better be a big chunk of the offer. This makes total comp impossible to predict, and therefore hard to put in a single number.


Sorry, no. I have bills to pay. If your role means taking a 50% pay cut, I'm just not interested. I don't want to waste multiple days of PTO to interview just so you can give me a number that is entirely unacceptable for my experience, expectations, and skill level. The most amazing role in the world would get the same response if I can't support my family.


For most people who aren't independently wealthy, it's a necessary but not sufficient indicator of whether you'd enjoy the lifestyle associated with working in a particular job. And even if you don't need the money, it's a very clear indication of how much an employer values your time and expertise.


I think that misses the point. It's quite possible that if you have high salary ranges, you'll get high quality candidates through both versions of the job listing who will be happy with the offered salary.

The issue is the companies out there with low salary ranges. And while it's absolutely true that a high salary isn't going to make an otherwise bad job great, too low a salary will make an otherwise great job terrible.

So I'm not really surprised that your company wouldn't see much value from publishing salary ranges, but I don't think that means they have no value.

Also on a side note:

> Of the top reasons people are happy at work, salary is way down on the list.

That's a weird link to give as evidence of that, since it immediately covers two different surveys that found compensation was the number 1 factor, before going on to discuss a third survey that found it was important, just not #1...


Hm, I know you're getting a lot of responses to this, but just to throw my view onto the pile: what I "enjoy" doing (golf, video games, playing with my dogs, traveling with my wife, etc.) is not something anyone will pay me for.

What I'm willing to do, however, is a whole bunch of stuff, as long as that "stuff" gives me a better ability to do those things that do make me happy, and a primary driver of my ability to do the things I like is how much money I have.

Happiness doesn't really factor into it, because as I said, the items at the top of the list of things that make me happy are nonstarters from an income perspective.

It's delusional, as an employer, to think your job is to make the people who work for you "happy" in some objective sense.

Nobody would be there if you weren't paying them, you need very badly to remind yourself of that.


I agree that salary is not what dictates my level of satisfaction with my work. However, plenty of people make the (perfectly reasonable) tradeoff of work satisfaction in exchange for money. I'm not dogmatic about this - I am aware that plenty of people are deeply satisfied with both their work and salary, and that others are deeply satisfied with their work and are perfectly willing to trade salary for that. That is great! I am very happy for those people. But it's _also_ a perfectly reasonably decision to prioritize salary to enable your preferred non-work life, and it's entirely possible to still do excellent work if you're in that bucket.

This doesn't even touch on people who _have_ to prioritize salary.


> If your primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary you are not going to be happy where you work. I promise.

This is true, but at the same time, if you're trying to hire people for $X, and I currently make $3X or more, it is probably not worthwhile for us to spend much time exploring working together.

For the most part, I can tell whether you're likely to be vaguely close based on discussing the role with you. It's a bit of a signaling game, but I can usually tell if we're at least kinda-sorta close -- but at the same time I've definitely gotten well into the process with folks only to discover that we're so far apart that it doesn't matter what the role or company is like.


Ads are one part of the equation but being actively searched out by recruiters who can't provide salary information is frustrating as someone with experience. I've gone through similar frustrations to other posters here where someone attempted to recruit me and gave me the old handwave "salary will be discussed later but I'm sure it can be worked out" and after multiple interviews they offered me roughly 50% of my base compensation at my (then current) role.

It was a waste of everyone's time. Providing salary information isn't about finding the ideal place but filtering out the places that aren't in the same ballpark.


> If your primary reason for responding to an ad is based upon salary you are not going to be happy where you work.

It's not really clear what "primary" means here. It's certainly one of my primary concerns.

> Of the top reasons people are happy at work, salary is way down on the list.

Okay, but that doesn't mean that if the salary were zero they would take the job. It just means that they have enough options within their acceptable salary range that they also considered other factors.

Asking whether salary is the primary reason for choosing a job is a bit like asking if width is the primary reason for choosing a storage unit.


If I was evaluating multiple similar roles, and most offered salary ranges except a few, I would ignore the ones that didn’t offer salary ranges.

Your experiment is not valid because you are not controlling for the job market environment. However as the job market environment evolves to offer more data, the job postings with less data will suffer.

We already see this pattern in other markets such as housing/cars. More information makes the posting more attractive to the extent that there is whole industries dedicated to offering more information about postings, ex: carfax. The job market is not different.


> Of the top reasons people are happy at work, salary is way down on the list. [0] It is important, it makes it possible to pay bills, but it isn't what makes people happy.

I want money so my family don’t struggle in the future. My child can go to better schools. We have better food. We can have a house at better places. When you only work to pay your bills you gonna have a bad time. What happens when you get fired? What happens when you want to change your perspective and go to school again.


Bold of you to assume that people weren’t looking at both job postings before applying.

I’ll regularly take specific language from a job posting and search on it to see what information is where.


I think the things missing from this anecdote are secondary sources like glassdoor or personal references. If a company is large enough to have a high enough headcount you can often find it through secondary sources so the salary range is not a 'surprise' or at least you know what the floor should be. The floor is the real problem with a lot of postings where the salary range that they are expecting to spend is just not even a close match.


I don’t agree with this take, and there are tons of plausible reasons you may have had better responses to the ad without salary listed.

The problem is that no one wants to apply to a job where the salary isn’t viable for them.

Amongst the 50 other things they don’t know about a role and company, most of them you need to talk about in an interview, but item #1: salary, is make or break, and can be answered before even applying.

It’s disrespectful to candidates not to put a range on the ad.


A lot has changed since 2014. Any more recent metrics on this?


Human nature doesn't change in a meek 8 years.


I'm about to re-enter the job market. Pay is the biggest motivator due to COL increases (non-relational to human nature) which affects my ability to provide for my family (more relational). So, you're not wrong... but also far off track from the question asked.


In 8 years a whole generation goes from just out of school/uni to having kids and a mortgage. It definitely makes a huge difference.


Culture can change quickly and I believe that it has.


Are the same number of people seeking fully remote jobs now as were seeking them 8 years ago? Human nature may not change that much, but a job market certainly can.


No, but inequality and cost of living certainly does.


> Of the top reasons people are happy at work, salary is way down on the list.

Absolutely.

But when considering a new role, I don't work there yet. It'll take a lot of research and talking to people to try to figure out if the working conditions are good or not. I don't want to spend that effort if it turns out you'll pay less than half what I make now. So I'll need to talk about comp on the first conversation with a recruiter.


In my eyes, this is a great response. It proves that if we want to move salaries up, then we have to follow Colorado's lead and force companies to post salary ranges. You won't have to worry which one performs better anymore, since you won't have a choice.


You posted 2, its well in the anecdotal spectrum.

You just went though the cycle and already think you know which are the better candidates. But we all know that performance is measured by doing the work.

It's a fun idea thou. Perhaps others can follow the example and we may gather meaningful data.


> with the better candidates responding to the ones without salary ranges.

This makes sense to me. The strongest engineers are those who really love the work and enjoy building software systems. They tend to have active software side projects outside of work. They tend to be the sort who want to be paid well, but prioritize places where they can learn new things, learn from others and be excited. They want to enjoy coming to work each day and grow as an engineer.

The engineers I know who are the most compensation-oriented, on the other hand, seem to think of work as mostly about the paychecks. They aren't bad engineers, but they don't seem to love the craft as much as the great engineers. If your relationship with the industry is transactional ("I write code and you give me money"), you rarely develop into a great software engineer

It doesn't surprise me that the strongest applicants are the ones who aren't prioritizing comp in the decision-making.


> 'If your relationship with the industry is transactional, you rarely develop into a great software engineer'

You may be right but I'm curious. I suspect that the issue is one of trust that the employer will adequately reward great code.

If I'm a jeweler, its very evident that I will get paid handsomely for the finest work, and I will get to work with the finest materials, creating a virtuous circle. It is not at all evident that this works in software. You dont get reliably comped better for creating better code.

In fact it's so bad that people publish code outside of their jobs to demonstrate to the next employer that they should have been comped better.

on that basis I can see why the transactional mindset takes hold. you want to treat me as a fungible disposable fixed price asset? then I will act like one, starting with a demand for the highest possible asset valuation.


> you want to treat me as a fungible disposable fixed price asset?

I think this is the crux of the issue. Many companies invest quite heavily in improving engineers. My last company would send people to conferences, bring in consultants to train, have extended onboarding and training programs, and each engineer had a set budget for any training materials they wanted to purchase. They were absolutely not fungible or disposable. Other companies, I am sure, don't invest in their employees.

But perhaps this is just the system working: "mercenary" engineers will go work for the highest posted salary and will work at companies where they are treated as fungible and disposable. The "growth" engineers will go work at the companies where they can learn and grow and are invested in.

As long as both types of engineer make their way to the appropriate companies, the system works.


Yeah, you hid the salary and got applications from people who would have passed if it had been available. Congratulations, deception and trickery get leads.

Candidates is a red herring. What was the quality of the actual hires from one branch versus the other?


Of course I want a good job, but I do not want a good job at the expense of salary, nor do I want to interview for hours before finding the company isn’t willing to honor my expectations (at least I can make mine clear up front).


Money does not buy happiness, but money enables me to do things that make me happy


Fount the HM/Recruiter with their skewed up anecdotal data. Usually bad jobs hide behind lack of salary data and just like companies want to evaluate me, I want to evaluate them first.


> with the better candidates responding to the ones without salary ranges

Do you have hard, objective evidence to back this up? Very easy to imagine someone reading their personal biases into this observation.


Did you end up hiring the people who performed better and who responded to the salary-absent posts, and what did you end up paying them compared to the initial ranges in the others?


> the better candidates responding to the ones without salary ranges.

So they would have rejected your offer... or are you hoping to reel them in with the sunken cost fallacy?


Yeah maybe the money doesn't matter if you are single. If you have a family to support, however, money is every so slightly important.


Something about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary proof for this one.

How did you measure better? Did you get the same number of responses for each?


> with the better candidates responding to the ones without salary ranges

^ conflicts with:

> Our salary offerings are very aggressive to the developer's benefit.


Then why post skills at all?

If cultural fit and believing in your mission is the most important thing, then just hire people who are really good at that


If the posted salary is too high I'll probably assume it's a scam or you plan on doing a bait and switch anyway :)


My primary reason for where I work is my salary (FAANG), and I have never been happier with my job.

I work to live, not live to work.


You can also have an exciting work that fits your interests because life is short and it is better to enjoy most of your work hours.


And once your job becomes non-interesting, what do you do? Quit? How many times?

I expect some excitement from my work but in the end it is just work. I work 8 hours and they pay me for that. I think having that personal attachment to your work and expecting more from it leads to early burn out when things are not going great


If you job becomes non interesting you need to take actions to make it interesting again. Perhaps some change of projects, of responsibilities, of technologies, of scenery. If it’s not possible or it doesn’t work you will have find another interesting job indeed. You may have to do that a few times during a career but I don’t think you should switch every second year.

It’s true that if you love your job, it may be hard when it’s not going great.


> Of the top reasons people are happy at work

Don't confuse "people" with "this person."


Your company's location/HQ will significantly impact assumed salary ranges.


High salary won't make you happy, but low salary will definitely make you sad.


> Of the top reasons people are happy at work, salary is way down on the list.

My gosh :face_palm:


Which pool did candidates end up being hired from?


Why do you think people work? For fun?


Did you bother asking OP if their selection criteria is too restricted or assume based upon a single post highlighting one criteria?

Really curious how it is air gapped commentators are able to intuit the real sequence others have adopted with so little information. That’s a pretty amazing power.


>And... before you say, perhaps your salary ranges were bad, they weren't.

Oh ok.


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