How does your company approach salary transparency in the hiring process?
Lionel Gadoury RGD, Principal, Director of Strategy and Creative Services at Context Creative: We attribute success to having a diverse and talented team that shares a commitment to our core values; when hiring, we are transparent in discussing salaries, but finding the right fit is paramount. We try to be respectful of people's time and energy by sharing the salary range near the beginning of the hiring process, not the end. That way, any misalignment can be discussed and resolved early on.
Wendy Gray RGD, Founder and Creative Director at Gravity Inc.: Traditionally, we don't post salaries because we always remain open to see who meets the criteria. For example, a junior applicant may have the skills we seek but not a lot of experience. A more senior individual may have the skills we seek and bring other valuable experience to the table worth considering. Salaries for these two people would differ considerably.
Samantha Olivera, Partner, Director of Client Services at The Workhouse Inc.: We have not typically posted our salary offerings in job postings. It always somehow feels like taboo to discuss openly. Why do we always feel awkward when talking about money? I think it’s really a legacy tactic that we carried on from our past experiences. We typically include a blanket statement that states we offer a fair and competitive salary + x amount of vacation + benefits after 3 months, etc. We are also always open to discussing salary during the interview process if that question is asked of us. We still typically state a range, and we are always willing to address negotiating and counter-offering should we feel the candidate is the right fit and we really want them on our team. Another thought about listing a salary range is that our studio is quite small and sometimes cannot compete with a salary that might be offered by a much larger agency for the same role. In that case though, it’s really left up to the candidate if the job was more about the money or the experience (big agency vs. boutique studio).
Do you have any plans to change your processes for salary transparency within your company? Will you consider providing salary ranges on posts for new employees in the future?
Lionel Gadoury RGD: Our process does continually evolve, but today it’s much less about salary ranges and more about a sense of alignment with our values and purpose. People progress along unique trajectories and what is most important to one person may differ quite a bit from another. We have flexibility on our requirements and emphasis on a salary range is not something we see as being of any more benefit going forward than it has been in the past. Having said that, our salary ranges for each role are fairly established. In addition, they are reviewed frequently against market standards and applied consistently across roles and staff.
Wendy Gray RGD: I would consider posting salary expectations in the future, but they would likely cover a fairly broad range.
Samantha Olivera: We are very open to changing our process around this for future posts. If we did this, we would still always post a salary range. The salary guide that RGD produces is also very helpful to ensure we have a reference to what a fair salary base is for different levels of experience, in different cities and for different sized agencies. I also use other job posting sites like Indeed, Glass Door, etc. to understand what is fair and reasonable for a job salary.
The RGD is considering requiring a salary range to post on the RGD website. Do you think that the RGD should go ahead with this or make it optional? Would you post with the RGD in the future if a salary range was mandatory?
Lionel Gadoury RGD: If RGD were to require that a salary range be posted, we are certainly willing to do so, but it is not something that we seek. Over the years, the comparative insights provided by RGD’s Creative Earners Survey were helpful in this regard, so it’s unfortunate that so few agencies and individuals opted to participate most recently.
Wendy Gray RGD: I would prefer it to be optional as there are so many factors that can influence the assigned salary. I would certainly respect the requirement, but I might add a caveat in our post that suggests we are open to negotiation. Ultimately, the RGD Creative Earners report is the best guide for both employers and employees to follow for fair and competitive hiring and salary practices. In my mind, this is a more effective means of achieving equity.
Samantha Olivera: I believe it should still be optional. If it becomes the new norm and agencies are not hiring or retaining employees because they are not contributing to this new norm, then things will shift and the conversation around money will become a more comfortable one to have. Everyone is competing for the top talent; however, every agency offers a different experience, and sometimes that experience is not all about making the most money. I mean, we don’t kid ourselves and know that money is certainly a key factor for most, but it’s not always the deciding factor. If you make it a comfortable, fair offer for people who know they will be working with a great quality team, producing amazing work that challenges them in the right ways, then you might just get the right people who are willing to grow and take risks to enjoy the ride with and for you and your business.
The 2021/2022 Creative Earners Salary Survey is now open. Creatives from across Canada are invited to share their information, giving us a financial picture of where graphic designers and related professionals were working in 2021 and what they were being paid.
Uncover your value and complete the survey today to ensure you get paid what you’re worth tomorrow.
With over 4,000 Members across Canada, the RGD is a place where professional designers share information, support and adhere to ethical best practices and advocate for a greater understanding of the value of design and effective processes for selecting and working with professional designers.
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