Hi everyone, Game of Thrones is done for the year, so I am slightly down, so this post may be a little cranky. I was surfing the Nonprofit Happy Hour Facebook group (which you should totally join, because it’s full of brilliant and hilarious people), and saw that a colleague had asked for advice on how to respond to an online job application that asks for her salary history: “I’m worried I will be shortchanged on my pay because my ‘salary’ has been low, but I have actually provided MUCH more value to my org than that.”
I wrote about this practice of asking for salary history a while ago in “When you don’t disclose salary range on job postings, a unicorn loses its wings.” I believe the practice is archaic and irritating, like codpieces and, in a few years, skinny jeans. Leaders such as the brilliant Alison Green of Ask a Manager also think salary history is ridiculous:
Employers who do this generally claim that they need to know what you’ve earned in the past because it helps them figure out how much you should be earning with them, or so that they can screen out candidates who are earning way more than the position pays and presumably won’t want to take a pay cut. But neither of these reasons holds water. First, companies should be able to determine a candidate’s value for themselves; they don’t need to look to their competitors to tell them a candidate’s worth (and if they really do need to, their hiring process is pretty messed up). And second, if they’re concerned that you’ll be unhappy with the salary they’re offering, they can solve that by posting their range up-front or ask you about your salary expectations rather than salary history. So it’s BS, and it’s BS that’s designed to give them the upper hand in salary negotiations.
After thinking about it these past few months, I’m going further to make the argument that asking for salary history is not just annoying, but actually borders on UNETHICAL and all of us need to put a stop to it immediately. Here are some reasons why all of need to agree to drop this harmful practice: Continue reading