Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

REC and Fawcett Society launch new End Salary History guide to tackle pay inequality

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and Fawcett Society have come together to tackle gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps as part of the End Salary History campaign.

The recruitment industry body has partnered with the gender equality charity to produce a guide for recruiters to end the practice of asking job applicants about how much they earned in previous jobs.

Fawcett Society polling has found that 58% of women and 54% of men felt that being asked about their past earnings meant they were offered a lower wage than they might have been otherwise. Another 61% of women and 53% of men said being asked about their salary had damaged their confidence to ask for better pay.

The REC and Fawcett Society guide contains information on the workforce issues caused by asking about salary history, and practical tips on how to address these problems. It will be an important tool for recruiters and their clients to address pay gaps – particularly for women and minority groups.

The REC has also become an official signatory of the Fawcett Society’s End Salary History campaign, pledging to stop asking about salary history during recruitment. The professional body is committed to driving change internally and in the recruitment industry at large, leading by example to encourage REC members and others to make the same pledge.

Kate Shoesmith, Deputy CEO of the REC, said:

“Not asking a candidate about their past earnings is a simple way to ensure everyone is being treated equally when they apply for a job, no matter what their background is. Research shows that this helps to narrow gender pay gaps. Equality, diversity and inclusion are hugely important issues for the REC, and we hope that by signing the End Salary History pledge and producing this guide, we can help recruiters to understand the difference they and their clients can make by stopping asking salary history questions.”

Jemima Olchawski, CEO at the Fawcett Society, said:

“Asking a job candidate for salary history goes much deeper than an annoying or awkward conversation – it’s a uncomfortable question that in reality, keeps women on lower salaries. Women, people of colour and disabled people are much more likely to be paid less then men. So, when you ask about salary history, past pay discrimation and bias follows through from one job to the next, perpetuating gender, disability and ethinicity pay gaps.

“That’s why we are delighted to work alongside The REC, to create this practical guide for recruiters to end the practice of salary history. This is a simple, evidence-based step to improve pay equality and one that we know is good for women, employers and the economy.”

The government has recently announced that they are launching a pay transparency pilot, requiring employers to list salary details on job adverts and stop asking about salary history during recruitment.

The REC has also strengthened its commitment to equality and inclusion with the appointment of Dr Olga Frańczak as the organisation’s Programme Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Olga will be leading on both internal and external projects with the aim of helping the REC achieve its equality, diversity, and inclusion goals – as well as improving EDI in the wider recruitment industry and the UK labour market as a whole.

Dr Olga Frańczak, Programme Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the REC, said:

“The recruitment industry sits at the heart of workplace diversity and inclusion. I am excited to join the REC as the EDI Programme Lead and work together towards building an inclusive jobs market where everyone is safe and empowered to be truly themselves. The End Salary History pledge is an important step towards addressing gender and ethnicity pay inequalities. It will help to break the self-perpetuating cycle of bias that keeps underpaid groups underpaid, and I would encourage every organisation to sign the pledge and learn more by downloading the guide.”