If you follow fashion, you know that off-the-shoulder necklines, fanny packs, and male rompers are going out of style in 2018.
If you are like me (fashionably clueless), you are surprised to learn that fanny packs had even staged a comeback (once in style was too much, amirite?). And you are even more surprised to learn that male rompers are even a thing. (Apparently they are nicknamed “RompHims.” Get it? Instead of “Romp-Hers.” I wish you could see the look on my face as I type this: it’s mostly bewilderment but with a hint of intrigue.)
While I’m not on top of fashion trends, I can tell you about something else that is going hopelessly out of fashion in 2018: asking candidates for salary histories.
Why? Because several states and cities around the country have started banning employers from asking candidates about previous salaries during the hiring process. Furthermore, employers are prohibited from taking a candidate’s pay history into account when determining a new salary offer.
Now, if you have that same “RompHims” bewildered look on your face right now, let me explain why this is happening.
Lawmakers have decided that basing a new salary on a prior one can perpetuate wage gaps. The hope is that gender-based and race-based disparities in the workplace will be mitigated by outlawing questions related to past salaries.
Places that have begun to enact laws related to asking about salary history include (but are not limited to): California, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Orleans, New York City, Oregon, Philadelphia, and Puerto Rico.
While some of these laws are facing legal challenges (and while asking about salary history is still legal in many places), our opinion is that it’s better to be safe than sorry.
So, instead of delving into what a candidate has earned in the past, we recommend that employers — regardless of location — ask a candidate only about about salary expectations. From there, employers can develop an offer based on those expectations and, most importantly, the expected value the candidate will bring to the organization.
Candidates, of course, are still free to offer up salary information themselves if they wish.
Regardless of how you view this new wave of legislation, I think the opportunity to base future salaries on expected value (without the noise of past salaries) is an intriguing one. I sometimes come across candidates making far more (or far less) than what I would have guessed based on the current market. The thought of employers developing forward-looking salaries makes me hopeful about market corrections.
Speaking of market corrections, let’s hope the fanny pack stays out of fashion indefinitely.