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Is the ‘What’s Your Current Salary?’ Question Contributing to the Gender Pay Gap?

Posted on August 23rd 2018

The Young Women’s Trust charity have said that women who are underpaid in their current job are more likely to be underpaid in their next job due to the practice of employers asking job applicants for their current salary.

Dr Carole Easton, chief executive of the charity, which supports women ages 16-30 who are on low wages; said ‘Women often start work on a lower salary than men, move to a new job and are paid based on their previous wage’ and that stopping the practice would ‘break the cycle that traps women in low pay.’

New York City banned the practice in April 2017, and California followed suit later that year in October. Women in New York and California now earn 85 to 90% of what their male counterparts earn- one of the highest percentages in the US.

Although awareness of the gender pay gap has increased and the extent of it has reduced; there is still a substantial difference in the earnings of women and their male counterparts.  Innovate UK’s gender pay gap report using data from April 2017 to March 2018 found that women make up 71% of the lower pay quartile and only 29% of the upper pay quartile.

Even in the highest level of businesses in the UK women are earning less. Chartered Management Institute found that ‘the average female chief executive received total pay equalling £2.6m last compared to the £5.8m paid to male CEOs at FTSE 100 firms.’

The fact that gap runs wide in lower and upper levels of business proves how ingrained the problem is in our culture. Banning the practice of asking for current salary may not end the gender pay gap, but it would certainly be a step in the right direction.

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