Is the Salary History Question - Tilson


Is the Salary History Question

Benefits & Compensation, Regulations & Compliance | April 2018

The question of a prospective new hire’s salary history is on the cusp of becoming extinct. For many years, employers have asked the question of their applicants, “What is your current salary?” The information gained from the inquiry has either helped companies weed out candidates who had too large of salary requirements or hire an individual at a bargain rate. However, lawmakers believe that this type of data continues to fuel the wage gap between men and women, and majorities and minorities.

Instead of considering pay history, employers are being urged to focus their attention on a candidate’s skill set and how it would relate to the essential job functions. Some companies have already adopted this practice. For example, Colorado Springs Utilities has taken on the “no haggle/low-haggle” approach. According to Jonathan Liepe, HR Supervisor, the organization advertises the expected pay range for each job opening. The applicant’s experience, licenses, and education are contemplated and then factored into where the candidate would lie within the pay range. This method allows the company to be transparent with how they value a position (Liepe, 2018).

To date California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, Puerto Rico, New York City, and San Francisco have implemented salary history bans. According to the Susan Milligan, employers should not wait around to change hiring strategies simply because their state or city has not banned salary history questions. Organizations are encouraged to get out in front of the issue by changing their policies and complying with the most stringent legislation enacted (Milligan, 2018).

For employers want to be proactive on implementing the ban of asking pre-employment candidates about their salary histories, listed below are a few pointers on how to take action, suggested by Susan Milligan (Milligan, 2018).

Perform competitive market analyses. This data will allow employers to compare what other businesses are paying for a particular job and skill set.

Ask applicants what their salary expectations are. By asking this question, companies can weed out candidates whose salary requirements do not fall within the range that they are willing to offer.

Determine the salary range for the open position and contemplate revealing the pay bands to applicants. Consider sharing the pay range with candidates. The job description should be very detailed. This would allow applicants to know if their experience and skill set would fit the criteria of what the employer is looking for and where they might land within the pay range.

Modify all paperwork to reflect the salary history ban. Remove all language regarding salary history from the application, handbook, and interview scripts.

Train recruiters and hiring personnel. Conduct periodic training with hiring staff and recruiters to confirm they are not accidentally asking salary history questions during the hiring process. Memos can also be sent out reminding staff of any rule or law modifications.

It may take some time to implement the changes. However, in the long run, these tactics will positively affect the overall culture and mindset of the prospective employer.


Information Not Legal Advice:  This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. The law may vary from state to state, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your jurisdiction. Finally, the information contained in this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your state.

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