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What Do DOE & EOE Stand for in a Job Description?

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If you're job hunting, you'll probably see DOE and EOE in plenty of job listings. The acronyms look similar, but their meanings are completely different. A DOE acronym job listing states that the salary depends on experience. When a listing mentions an EOE workplace, that means that the company is an equal opportunity employer that doesn't discriminate.

Depends on Experience

A DOE job listing may include a salary range such as "$40,000 to $60,000, depending on experience" or it may simply state, "compensation DOE" without giving any numbers. The listing may also use a term such as DOQ or "depending on qualifications" or it may state that the company "offers competitive salary and benefits," without defining them.

The point is to give the employer the upper hand in salary negotiations. If the job listing states, "compensation DOE," and doesn't give hard numbers, some job seekers will low-ball their salary requirements. Suppose that the company is willing to pay $60,000, but the applicant's opening request is $50,000. If the applicant is qualified, that's a win for the employer.

Another advantage is that some companies prefer that the work force doesn't know what the company is willing to pay. Suppose that the current IT team reads the company's job listings and discovers they're being paid less than what the company is offering a new hire. Keeping pay confidential is safer.

DOE with a salary range attached gives the applicant more knowledge to work with, but the company still has an advantage. The company can offer applicants salaries at the range they're offering, unless they're truly stellar candidates. If an applicant refuses a low offer, the company has room to negotiate upwards.

Applying for an EOE Job

A company which states that it is an equal opportunity employer is telling applicants that they'll be treated fairly, and without discrimination. Unlike DOE, treating employers equally, regardless of factors such as age, gender, disability or religion is a legal requirement. If a job listing doesn't say EOE, that doesn't give the company the right to, for example, discriminate against black women in favor of white men. Some companies will still write EOE in a listing, as a promise that they'll treat all applicants fairly.

There are exceptions to the law. Churches and other religious organizations can discriminate based on religious belief, although not on other standards. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees don't have to comply with federal equal opportunity hiring laws. If exempt businesses post help wanted ads that don't say EOE, it may be because they don't offer equal opportunity.

Responding to Advertising

Whether a EOE job advertisement actually refers to equal opportunity or not doesn't make a difference to your rights. If the company is covered by federal or state equal opportunity laws, your right to apply free of discrimination exists regardless of the ad wording. It's not something you have to negotiate for.

Dealing with DOE ads that give no figures is trickier because you're having to talk money while flying blind. There are several steps you can take to even the playing field:

  • Research the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' website or job-hunting websites can provide you with the average salary for the position you want. The average will vary, based on factors such as the location and your experience, but it will be a place to start.
  • Think of your salary requirements as a range, not a figure. The bottom should be the absolute minimum you can live with; the high number should be what you'd like to earn. Take the normal salary range into account when you're setting your personal range.
  • Don't divulge your previous salary. Alternatively, keep the figures confidential as late in the process as possible.
  • Practice negotiating and making counter offers. If the employer's initial offer is low, you need to be ready to make a counter proposal.

Over the course of his career, Fraser Sherman has reported on local governments, written about how to start a business and profiled professionals in a variety of career fields.. He lives in Durham NC with his awesome wife and two wonderful dogs. His website is

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