Here’s why LinkedIn doesn’t show salaries:
LinkedIn hides salary information by default as a matter of protecting individual users’ privacy.
The site does allow recruiters to post salary range data for job openings, but even then, many job openings do not include salary information.
There are many reasons why, but LinkedIn tries not to force salary discussions.
So if you want to learn all about why LinkedIn doesn’t post salaries, then You’re in the right place.
Let’s jump right into it!
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The first thing to understand is whether or not LinkedIn actually does show salaries, and the answer to this question is not perfectly simple.
It depends a lot on the context, so let’s go through the different possibilities.
As a user, when you create your LinkedIn profile, it asks you for job information, including salary information.
That number that you provide to LinkedIn will never be shared publicly by the company.
They use that number for statistical data, but LinkedIn will never publicly post your salary information.
But, you can pick a lot of the things that are visible on your profile.
Even though LinkedIn doesn’t have a designated space for you to share your own salary, you could put that information in part of the profile if you really wanted to.
That’s up to you.
On top of that, LinkedIn doesn’t just have professional profiles.
Recruiters can post job openings on the site.
In such a case, it’s up to the recruiter whether they want to include salary information or not.
LinkedIn does allow recruiters to post a public salary range for any job opening.
LinkedIn also allows job openings to go up without including specific salary information.
I’m going to take you through all of these things and why it is this way.
#1 Salary Statistics
Let’s start with salary statistics.
LinkedIn won’t post your personal salary, but they do use those numbers to come up with salary statistics, and they make those statistics publicly available.
So, no one can see how much you make as a baker in downtown New Orleans, but LinkedIn can provide salary statistics for New Orleans bakers in general.
Your salary information is included there.
This holds true outside of our one, specific example.
You can look up a ton of salary statistics, and they are formed by the salary information provided by users when they create or update their profiles.
#2 Recruiter Posts
I already mentioned this, but let’s make sure it’s completely clear.
A recruiter cannot post their own personal salary any more than you can yours.
But, if they put up a job opening, they absolutely can and often will provide pay information in that listing.
Plenty of other times, no pay information is available at all.
I’ll discuss the rationale in the next section.
The point, for now, is to understand that LinkedIn leaves this discretion solely to the person creating the post.
Ok. Now that you know the specific ways that LinkedIn does and doesn’t show salary information, let’s talk about why.
I’m going to keep things pretty general as I go through some leading concepts.
In many cases, I’ll be discussing both why LinkedIn doesn’t show your personal salary and why a lot of job posts also don’t have public-facing income information.
You’ll find that the motivations are similar in each case.
LinkedIn makes it very clear why the company doesn’t post your personal salary information.
In case you didn’t take the link, here’s what LinkedIn is all about.
They want salary data to form their statistics.
It’s an important part of how LinkedIn does things.
But, the company wants to draw clear lines in regards to individual privacy.
That’s why the company is formally committed to never sharing your privacy data with anyone.
Only anonymous statistics are ever shared.
Now, that doesn’t mean that your salary information is safe in the case of a data breach, and it doesn’t mean that LinkedIn is committed to this same policy forever, but that’s where things stand right now.
I can only tell you what LinkedIn is publicly professing.
This is really more of an example on the importance of private salary information, but I think it’s an easy example to follow, so let’s talk about it.
Let’s say you’re working for a company, and when you were first hired, you signed a nondisclosure agreement (NDA).
The terms of that NDA say that you cannot share company information with anyone who is not currently part of said company.
This can actually include salary information.
Now, some of you might be ready to argue.
You might say that it’s illegal for a company to ban discussions of salaries, and that’s partially true.
Federal regulations make it so that employees can discuss salary with each other, as long as it’s not on the clock (and some companies don’t care if you have the discussion even when you are on the clock).
But, an NDA can bar you from discussing the nature of your employment with outsiders, and that can cover pay as well.
So, if you told LinkedIn your salary in violation of an NDA, that would be a pretty big problem, and a lot of professional jobs include various restrictions on disclosure.
So, one thing LinkedIn can do to make it easier for people across professions to participate is to protect this kind of potentially sensitive information.
Even when legal agreements aren’t part of the equation, there’s still a social stigma related to discussing salary.
Some people worry that sharing a high salary might make them some kind of target.
Others might resent them or even try to extract their wealth.
In other cases, people just worry that it’s rude to publicly post their income, and at least in some circles, that’s still ture.
There are plenty of other specific aspects of the stigma, but what is easy to say is that there is still a strong social stigma against discussing compensation.
LinkedIn programmers are aware of this, so they have created a simple sidestep to the whole problem.
You can provide your salary data without ever engaging in stigmatic practices.
It’s nice and easy.
On the other end of the spectrum, LinkedIn is catering both to individual users and business accounts.
A lot of recruiters use LinkedIn to try to find high-value prospects.
From the perspective of a recruiter, open discussions of salary information can prove expensive.
This may not be a fun truth, but it’s definitely how some places do business.
Here’s an example to paint the picture.
Let’s say that you work as the manager of a restaurant, and you make $50,000 a year as a salary.
You’re looking for other restaurant management jobs, and you see one posted.
You check with other people who have managed for the company, and you see that the average salary is $75,000.
Meanwhile, the recruiter sees that you currently make $50,000.
So, they make you an initial offer of $60,000 a year.
That’s a clear pay raise from your current income, but it’s also significantly short of the average.
This creates a two-way problem.
You feel like you are seeing a low offer because you know the salary of other workers.
Meanwhile, the recruiter knows how much you make and is using that to try to lowball the offer.
From either direction, open salary information is impacting the negotiations.
Rather than take sides in all of this, LinkedIn hides salary information and leaves the negotiation to you and the recruiter.
To be fair, not all businesses and recruiters operate this way, but it happens enough that it warrants discussion.
Privacy can work for and against you, and that’s true for the recruiters too.
There’s a completely different aspect of hiding salary information.
It’s probably fair to say that at least sometimes, people discriminate against others by income.
If everyone’s salary information was on clear display, then people might block or ignore users based solely on how much money they make.
This creates discriminatory practices, and it’s not ideal for a diverse platform that appeals to all professionals.
LinkedIn is playing into the idea of diversity among users by hiding salary information.
Sure, income is only one of countless ways that people can and do discriminate, but getting rid of this problem from the start doesn’t seem to hurt.
#6 Passion Over Money
The last idea to discuss is that of passion.
To at least some extent, every professional is motivated by money.
We get paid for our work, and that’s important as it’s how we pay rent and buy food and all of that.
But, in a group of professionals who are trying to push ideas, recruit talent, and expand their professional outreach, it makes sense to try to de-emphasize money in a few ways.
When LinkedIn hides salary info, it inherently reduces discussions of compensation.
By all means, those discussions still take place, and it’s fine that they do.
But, LinkedIn is making it easier for professional groups, individuals, and recruiters to find each other and focus communications on things related to passion rather than money.