Conversations about salary and salary history are commonly the most difficult during the recruitment process. It is a personal and often-times uncomfortable topic but usually necessary to move your candidacy forward in many organizations.
This may be changing…
To address gender wage inequity, numerous jurisdictions have introduced legislation banning employers from asking potential employees about salary history. A proposal under consideration in California’s legislature would also require employers to disclose the pay scale for a position to candidates who request it. Prohibitions on salary history inquiries have passed in Massachusetts, Philadelphia, New York City, Philadelphia, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Delaware and other jurisdictions but as of this writing, none of the bans are in effect yet.
Are employers allowed to inquire regarding your salary history?
Yes. None of the salary history bans have taken effect yet so employers can inquire about your salary history.
How do you navigate this conversation?
Employers can ask but you are not required to share your current salary or salary history. However, you should be prepared to discuss your salary expectations to ensure they are aligned with the compensation structure for a particular position.
Both internal and outside recruiters commonly use salary history as a reference for whether the employee’s expectations of compensation match what an employer is prepared to offer.
If your salary expectations and the position’s compensation package do not match we can prevent the scenario of wasting time on multiple rounds of interviews just to discover at the end of the process that the employee would never consider the salary being offered.
If you decide to share your current salary do not inflate your compensation package. Employers often request copies of your W-2 to confirm the numbers you give them.
Although salary history bans are not in effect yet, many organizations are already adapting the practice of not inquiring about current salary or salary history. Tread carefully, being sure to balance offering enough information but not revealing too much and putting yourself at a disadvantage.
Debbie Tang is a Partner at Bridge Partners, a minority-owned executive search firm with unique expertise in attracting and retaining senior, diverse executives. Debbie leads global C-level searches across industries and functions, from Fortune 100 companies to universities and government agencies. Headquartered in New York City, Bridge Partners is the leading executive search firm specializing in diversity & inclusion.