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Should we be asking about salary history?

Posted 13 days ago by Rebecca Thomas
Piggy bank image over laid with a green foreground with the words recruitment insight written on top

Should we be asking job seekers about previous/current salaries?

The Fawcett Society recently conducted a survey of 2,200 working adults which found that 47% of people had been asked about previous salaries when applying for jobs. For 61% of women this had an impact on their confidence to negotiate better pay - contributing to the gender pay gap.

The survey also found that 58% of women and 54% of men felt knowledge of their salary history led to being offered a lower wage.

Why do we ask about previous salaries as recruiters?

Asking job seekers what their current or previous salary is a pretty common thing in the world of recruitment. At Pitch we do it to ensure we’re making the perfect match between the candidates experience and what the role is offering.

Using regional market averages we’re able to judge whether a candidate is being over or under paid. This can be used to help them on their recruitment journey, advising them on the best places for them to work and setting expectations with hiring companies. Sometimes it even leads to us negotiating a higher salary with companies if it’s in the candidates best interest.

Would we miss asking about salaries?

For us asking about current/previous salaries helps us to create a more personalised recruitment process which is tailored to a candidate needs and expectations. In short, it helps us to make the perfect match which could be made more difficult without approaching the topic.

But what about the issue of salary negotiation?

The way recruitment agencies work lends a hand to the issue of salary negotiation. The process should be objective, where it is the recruiter not the individual who negotiates the salary. A cheerleader of the job seeker, we work to negotiate the best salary based on their level of experience, not what they’ve previously earned. However this is not to say that bias doesn’t exist within the end client.


We’re open to hearing your thoughts about whether you should be asked about previous salaries in our LinkedIn poll.

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Header: Image adapted from Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels