Are Employers Perpetuating the Gender Pay Gap by Asking About Salary History?

Lauren Foster (Student)

The Fawcett Society is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life. They are asking employers to stop asking prospective employees about their salary history.

The Fawcett Society stated that asking about previous pay in interviews can contribute to keeping women on lower wages.

They presented a survey of 2,200 working adults and found 47% of people had been asked about past salaries. Also, 61% of women said the questions asked had an effected their confidence to negotiate better pay.

Jemima Olchawski, the chief executive of the Fawcett Society told the BBC that unless more is done, the gender pay gap will not be closed until at least 2050.

The survey of the Fawcett Society also found that 77% of people felt their salaries should reflect the value of the quality of work they do. The reality is that 58% of women and 54% of men felt salary history questions meant they were offered a lower wage than they might otherwise have been paid. 

Only a quarter of people that have participated in the survey felt that pay should be based on past salaries, in contrast to 80% of respondents who felt that their pay should be based on their ability to carry out their job role regarding skills and responsibilities.

The campaign group found 77% of people felt their salaries should reflect the quality of the work they do.

The Fawcett Society stressed that more needed to be done by both the government and employers to tackle issues like discrimination within the workplace.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds of the following:

  • Age,
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage or civil partnership,
  • Pregnancy and maternity,
  • Race,
  • Religion/belief,
  • Gender,
  • Sexual orientation

Here at SULAC we offer free advice on all matters relating to employment and discrimination. If you would like an appointment please call 01782 294458 or email SULAC@staffs.ac.uk

 

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