Pay transparency

Written by Andrea Frith

Pay transparency when recruiting is a hot topic at the moment and is being led by a government initiative to support potential employers to advertise salaries on job adverts.

Much has been publicised over the recent years on how organisations should narrow the gap on salary gender/ ethnic minority equality. Under a new Government initiative companies will be asked to include salaries in job adverts and not base a decision on pay based on an applicant's pay history or expectations. Essentially this means that the reward for the role is based on the role itself as opposed to the person applying for or performing the duties.  The overall objective is to prevent women/ethnic minorities from being held back from earning higher salaries.

Recent evidence shows that this is a simple, evidence-led way to improve pay equality for both women and ethnic minorities.

The intention of the government's initiative is that listing the salary range and not asking applicants to disclose salary history in the recruitment process would allow women to negotiate pay on a “fairer basis”.   The hope is that with could have a “significant impact” on women’s ability to negotiate with confidence.

In practical terms, it is essential that this initiative is expanded further than just the advertisement. Hiring practices and habits will need to be changed. It will mean that questions at the interview stage will need not include discussion around current salaries and packages. Measurement of success will need to be graded on the ability to do the job and the evidence given.

In theory, this sounds like a good solution and one that is fair and measured. It will however be interesting to see in practice if this is possible and how difficult it will be to break habits that have been formed by hiring managers and recruiters.  How easy will it be to stop these questions from being asked at the interview stage, even if it is not mentioned in the advert?

It is likely that there will be some measurements and reports in the following months on how this has worked out, however the lack of talent and the overall recruitment market at the moment may well mean the true results are not reflected as wages rise further to attract and retain talent.

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