What is your current salary?

A recent Business Insider article shows that New York city just made it illegal for companies to ask “What is your Current Salary?”

Previously I was unaware that this was illegal in any place. It is a good move and I would like to see it implemented in Chicago, or better yet in all of Illinois. This brings a lot of benefits.

The person in any negotiation that puts out a number first is always at a disadvantage. So the company recruiting, who has most of the power in a normal interview process, robs the candidate of any negotiating power that he or she might have. I know in the past that when hiring there is usually a salary range that I am allowed or budgeted to offer for the position. Does the person’s current salary really matter at that point? Why not allow me to make the offer and allow the candidate to make a decision?

The candidate should make the decision. Many have been passed over for a job that they really wanted because the recruiting manager, or the recruiter ASSUMED that the salary they could offer was too far beneath the candidates current salary. Not everyone plays the “always advancing career” game. Some are interested in other things including decreased stress, work life balance, changing career paths, learning something new, or getting a new opportunity. These reasons and more aren’t always valued by recruiting managers but are highly valued by many candidates.

Business Insider concentrates on the gender wage gap as being the reason for this trend in making this question illegal. Great! We need to do what we can because I personally want my daughters to be paid equally and not disadvantaged because of their gender. But this question also causes problems for everyone. What about the stay at home parent who is reentering the work force? Or about the over 50 professional who is getting passed over for the job he or she really wants just because the company ASSUMES that ever increasing salary must happen. Or what about the veteran leaving a low paying military job. Doesn’t that veteran deserve to be paid market rates and not given a lower salary simply because of his or her military service?

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