Pursuing the Elusive Salary Range; Less Than 50% of Library-Job Ads Contain This Aid to Equitable Recruitment

Article excerpt

AMONG THE ISSUES CONFRONTING librarians today, the ALA policy that advocates advertising salary ranges in job notices might appear to be of minor importance. We maintain however, that library personnel practice 54.18 in the ALA Policy Manual can influence the quality of your library.

The success or failure of libraries relies, simply and importantly, on the quality of the peope we hire to do the work. Library budgets reflect this fact: 50-80% of annual budgets go to salaries. The hiring process is an essential element in determining the overall quality of the library. We want our recruiting efforts to yield talentend, fair-minded, successful librarians. A fair and equitable recruitment process that attracts and hires the best people is critical to the success of libraries.

Advertising vacant positions in professional journals constitutes a substantial part of recruiting in most libraries. The classified ad represents the library and the parent institution to prospective applicants. The language of the ad, the accuracy of the job description, and the characterization of the institution all tell prospective applicants about the library.

The salary offered is one component of a job ad. Some ads give no specific figures (e.g., they indicate that salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience). Others state a minimum salary or supply a salary range. Of the three methods, the salary range gives the potential employee the most imformation. Salary ranges discourage the employer from offering widely differing salaries to different groups (e.g., white males vs. black males or men vs. women), and permit applicants to use the information to obtain equitable treatment by the institution. Since applicants outnumber positions available in many parts of the country, an ad giving potential applicants as much information as possible improves their recruiting situation.

The advantages to the employer who publishes a salary range are not obvious. Publishing a salary range is one indication that an employer believes in fair and equitable treatment. Providing such information allows employers to hire within a given range and avoid unfair discrimination.

One recruiting aim is to attract the best candidates for one's library. The more information supplied in an ad, the greater the possibility that potential candidates will be able to choose positions that match their particular strengths. For instance, an ad listing only a low minimum salary or no salary tells the prospective candidate very little. The library administrator may win a good negotiating position, but may lose out in the end. A fairly strong candidate who sets a salary request too high (also for negotiating purposes) may be dropped for being unreasonable. On the other hand, an advertised low minimum salary may also signal (right or wrongly) a low maximum salary, forcing candidates to make decisions about their applications based on assumptions rather than sound information. In either case, the library may lose a potentially excellent employee due to false assumptions. …