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Is disclosing your current salary preventing a pay rise?

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), men in the UK are paid 18.4% higher than women, although when carrying out our own salary survey for 2018 we found this figure was higher at 25% in the creative, tech and digital industries. Despite many companies announcing their commitment to close the gap, ensuring women are paid the same as their male counterparts is difficult because salaries are always based on what you have been paid in the past.

At Major Players we have launched the Earn Your Worth campaign to encourage employers to pay based on performance and not to ask candidates to disclose their current salary, asking instead what the candidates' salary expectations are.

We had a situation with a talented marketing specialist, who came to us to help her find a job.

The candidate had made waves in her industry and agency for nearly three years. She found herself in a situation that sounds familiar to many; she had started her career on an especially low salary and, although she had since gone on to excel in her role, felt she would find it difficult to earn her worth and request a salary that now reflected her talent given her starting rate.

Though she had managed to work her way to a £23,000 salary, her skill set was not acknowledged financially.

Highlighting the candidate’s talent, our consultant thought she had gained an abundance of experience, which outweighed her earnings. She was smart and capable but earning no way near enough. Her previous employer didn’t have the capacity to promote her or increase her salary.

When the new potential employer called to request a second interview and presentation, they asked for our candidate’s current salary. Our consultant chose not to give it, explaining the candidate should be considered based on her skills.

The client came back with a £35,000 job offer – £12k more than candidate was currently earning – after being “blown away” by her presentation, both were delighted with the outcome.

Setting clear expectations for the role, outlining skills and experience followed by a thorough interview process should be perfectly adequate to assess someone’s ability to do a job. We are asking for our clients and other recruiters in the industry to stop asking for previous pay. We also feel that if you are applying for a job, then you should be given a choice as to whether you divulge your salary.

Joanne Lucy-Ruming, MD, Major Players explained “We feel divulging current or previous salaries can be a big contributing factor for women not reaching pay parity with their male counterparts. Potential employees should be assessed on their experience and skills not what they’ve been paid previously. As the leading creative recruiter, we feel we have an opportunity to make a positive impact and help close the gap through this initiative.”