A Strong Case for Banning Salary History on Job Applications


As of January 2018, employers in California are no longer allowed to ask candidates about their salary history during the hiring process, either orally or in writing. Additionally, a number of other states, including Oregon, Massachusetts, and Delaware, have similar laws in the works that are designed to prevent salary history discrimination.

Changes to any employment law can create challenges for companies. However, removing salary history information from job applications and the hiring process isn’t as difficult to implement, and can even result in positive outcomes. Here’s how.

Enhancing Your Talent Pipeline

When salary details are no longer available during the hiring process, you may find yourself meeting with candidates you would have otherwise bypassed. For example, a job seeker with a history of higher pay rates than you are prepared to offer is usually eliminated from contention early in the process, leading them not to be interviewed or otherwise screened.

While companies may worry they will end up dedicating time to a candidate who ultimately wouldn’t accept the role at that salary, it does create another opportunity. You’ll learn more about professionals who may be suitable for other jobs, including those at higher pay levels.

Even if they don’t accept an offer, or have one extended to them, they do become part of your talent pipeline, allowing you to reach out should a suitable role come available in the future.

Removal of Bias

One of the reasons for California’s legislation was to eliminate pay discrimination based on gender. Statistically, women still earn less than men even when they perform the same duties. When salary information is available on applications, these patterns can perpetuate, as potential employers often base their offer on the person’s last salary.

Even if your company isn’t intentionally being discriminatory, allowing past earnings to dictate a job offer enables gender pay biases to continue. When you remove salary details from your hiring process, this possibility is potentially eliminated. Instead of using their prior pay rates as a starting point, you have to present an offer based on what is fair for the work being performed and the skill set the candidate brings to the table.

Ease of Adoption

In general, removing salary information from your hiring process isn’t a particularly challenging task. While you may need to update your forms if you use standardized applications, companies that rely on resumes likely wouldn’t have to adjust how candidate information is collected as most job seekers don’t list these details without being prompted to do so.

Beyond that, hiring managers may need to be trained regarding what questions are and aren’t appropriate after making the shift. This ensures they don’t unintentionally cross a boundary due to lack of knowledge about the change.

Ultimately, removing a salary history from the hiring process can be beneficial, as long as it is viewed as an opportunity instead of a hardship. If you are interested in learning more, the professionals at The Advance Group want to hear from you. Contact us to speak with one of our highly knowledgeable team members today and see how our hiring expertise can benefit you.






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