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“How much is your current salary?”
It’s a question we’ve all been asked. Many of us have asked it ourselves. But its impact might surprise you.
Those 6 little words can reinforce pay discrimination and widen the gender pay gap. Is it time that we ditched asking about salary history and instead focused on what a candidate brings to the table and reward them adequately for it?
It feels like the tide is beginning to turn.
In 2019, Victoria became the first Australian state to ban asking about salary history during job interviews. Other states are considering following suit. The ban is designed to level the playing field for job seekers, particularly women, who are often paid less than men for the same work.
When employers ask about salary history, they are essentially asking about a candidate’s previous earnings. This information can then be used to low-ball the candidate’s salary offer.
For example, if a woman is currently earning $50,000 and is applying for a job that pays $70,000, an employer who knows her current salary may offer her $55,000 instead.
This is because the employer knows that the woman is likely to accept the lower offer, rather than risk not getting the job at all.
The ban on asking about salary history is a positive step toward closing the gender pay gap. It will allow job seekers to negotiate their salaries based on their skills and experience, rather than their previous earnings.
If you are a job seeker, you should be aware of your rights. You do not have to answer questions about your salary history.
If an employer asks you about your salary history, you can politely decline to answer. You can also explain that you are not comfortable discussing your previous earnings.
If you are an employer, you should be aware of the new laws in Victoria. You are no longer allowed to ask about salary history during job interviews. If you need to know a candidate’s salary range, you can ask them to provide it voluntarily. However, you should not pressure them to answer.
The ban on asking about salary history is a step in the right direction. It will help to level the playing field for job seekers and close the gender pay gap.
For further advice, please reach out to our team here, for a confidential conversation.
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