New guide published to end salary history recruitment questions

A new guide for recruiters aims to explain why asking for a salary history can entrench gender pay gaps.

A row of people on chairs waiting for an interview


The Recruitment and Employment Confederation [REC] and Fawcett Society have joined forces to end the practice of asking job applicants about how much they earned in their previous job.

The two organisations have published a guide for recruiters as part of the ongoing End Salary History campaign.

Fawcett Society polling has found that 58% of women and 54% of men felt that being asked about their past earnings meant they were offered a lower wage than they might have been otherwise. Another 61% of women and 53% of men said being asked about their salary had damaged their confidence to ask for better pay. Fawcett Society says basing pay on previous salaries entrenches pay inequality and that people should be paid for their ability to do the job.

The REC and Fawcett Society guide contains information on the workforce issues caused by asking about salary history and practical tips on how to address these problems. .

The REC has also become an official signatory of the Fawcett Society’s End Salary History campaign.

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, said: “Not asking a candidate about their past earnings is a simple way to ensure everyone is being treated equally when they apply for a job, no matter what their background is. Research shows that this helps to narrow gender pay gaps. Equality, diversity and inclusion are hugely important issues for the REC, and we hope that by signing the End Salary History pledge and producing this guide, we can help recruiters to understand the difference they and their clients can make by stopping asking salary history questions.”

Jemima Olchawski, CEO at the Fawcett Society, added: “Asking a job candidate for salary history goes much deeper than an annoying or awkward conversation – it’s a uncomfortable question that in reality, keeps women on lower salaries. Women, people of colour and disabled people are much more likely to be paid less then men. So, when you ask about salary history, past pay discrimation and bias follows through from one job to the next, perpetuating gender, disability and ethnicity pay gaps.”

The guide comes shortly after the government announced that they are launching a pay transparency pilot, requiring employers to list salary details on job adverts and stop asking about salary history during recruitment.


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