Subscribe

Forum

New California law about asking salary history

Welcome to the newly redesigned Science Careers Forum. Please bookmark this site now for future reference. If you've previously posted to the forum, your current username and password will remain the same in the new system. If you've never posted or are new to the forum, you will need to create a new account.

The new forum is designed with some features to improve the user experience. Upgrades include:
- easy-to-read, threaded discussions
- ability to follow discussions and receive notifications of updates
- private messaging to other SC Forum members
- fully searchable database of posts
- ability to quote in your response
- basic HTML formatting available

Moderator: Dave Jensen
Advisors:   Ana, PG, Rich Lemert, Dick Woodward, Dave Walker
Meet the Moderator/Advisors

Re: New California law about asking salary history

Postby Lydia » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:24 am

I recently interviewed for a position in a state that has this type of law. Here are my impressions as a candidate:

Negative - I was very concerned that I was wasting my time. I already had a job, and did not know if the position would pay anywhere close to what I was making.

Positive - The previous salary negotiation I went through, was a clear case of having a current salary + X formula applied, which was frustrating because I had been at a small company being paid below market rate. I was able to negotiate up enough to take the job, but ended up with an market adjustment within the year when the company evaluated the salaries of women and minorities across the board.

Extra positive - The recruiter knew her stuff and came through with a spot-on offer. (I was able to negotiate up a little, but she was on-target).

I am thinking that maybe these laws will help weed out lazy/inept recruiters?
Lydia
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: New California law about asking salary history

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:21 pm

Lydia,

I don't get from your post about how it's going to "weed out lazy or inept recruiters" . . . Recruiters, or anyone (hiring manager, HR, etc) now just have one more question they can not ask. And lawyers have one more area to go for lawsuits.

What it will do for recruiters (in the short term) is make them more important to their clients by helping them through the negotiation process. Because there will be a lot of people who completely disregard the "range" -- and (probably rightly) think they can negotiate out of that range. So, if I tell you it's a job that pays between $80 and $100K, and you are presently earning $94K, you'll have to decide whether you'd put your hat in the ring for what will clearly be a lateral move at the best. On the other hand, there will be people who will assume -- "OK, that's the range for everyone else. I'm worth more than that" and they earn $94K now and would only take an offer of $105K+.

And because the company is still free to negotiate ABOVE the quoted range, that's fine. But what it does is eliminate the negotiating wimps. It does not eliminate the recruiter. People supporting these kinds of laws must recognize that it only forces companies to downgrade salary ranges for advertising purposes -- or, to post positions that can be upgraded to the next job category above it, because that's where the savvy negotiator will end up.

Dave
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7863
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: New California law about asking salary history

Postby Rich Lemert » Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:19 pm

What I see you saying is that companies are going to "low-ball" applicants regardless, and if they can't do it by finding out what you're making now they will do it by advertising a salary that's below the fair-market value for that position. In either case, why would someone want to work for that company? You at least have a fighting chance when they 'downgrade' the position because you can determine for yourself whether or not the stated range is fair or not.
Rich Lemert
Advisor
 
Posts: 2578
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: New California law about asking salary history

Postby PG » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:26 am

I know that I am in a very different Environment for this type of discussions were salary history is not necessarily easy to find but at least available in the public domain. Still I have a hard time seeing how it would normally cause a problem.

The only specific situation that I have seen when this has been an issue is when an applicant that used to make Close to 150k USD/ year applied for a position paying 80k USD / year. The Company that he applied to then became hesitant to make the hire assuming that he would be unhappy and soon want to leave again. In this case the candidate had made an informed choice and wanted to go to a different type of position that he was aware woudl bring a lower salary.

Normally as a hiring manager if I am looking for someone to work in position x and I have a salary range in my team for similar positions that is 80-100k I want to hire the new person within that range and preferably at a level within that range that I can motivate. If I hire someone with a lower salary that person will be unhappy, potentially leave the Company or at least require an adjustment.

If I pay that person above the range other team members will be unhappy and a similar scenario but at a larger scale will happen.

To go through the troubles it brings to hire someone with an incorrect salary to potentially earn 5-10k / year just doesnt make any sense to me. If I apply this to Swedish conditions were the salary structure is a lot more flat it makes even less sense since we are talking about less money / year.
PG
 
Posts: 982
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: New California law about asking salary history

Postby Lydia » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:22 am

Dave Jensen wrote:Lydia,

I don't get from your post about how it's going to "weed out lazy or inept recruiters" . . . Recruiters, or anyone (hiring manager, HR, etc) now just have one more question they can not ask. And lawyers have one more area to go for lawsuits.

Dave


Dave,

I am just being hopeful that if the anchor point of current salary is no longer available, that it will become more important for recruiters/HR to evaluate skills and experience in order to do their job.

It will be interesting to see the longer term impact these laws have.

In the recent round of job search I posted about, I did not know about the law and was really stumped as to how we could get to an offer stage without discussing numbers at all. The hiring manager had warned me it might be a step down from salaries at the company I was at, but we did not discuss numbers at all. I would have liked to aligned on a range, but did not want to be the first one to put a number out there.

Lydia
Lydia
 
Posts: 128
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: New California law about asking salary history

Postby Dave Jensen » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:24 am

Rich Lemert wrote:What I see you saying is that companies are going to "low-ball" applicants regardless, and if they can't do it by finding out what you're making now they will do it by advertising a salary that's below the fair-market value for that position. In either case, why would someone want to work for that company? You at least have a fighting chance when they 'downgrade' the position because you can determine for yourself whether or not the stated range is fair or not.


Rich, you've misunderstood or I didn't do a good job communicating, because that's not what I meant. First off, I don't think anyone is going to be advertising salaries. If a company went through all the manipulations you suggest above, than I would not want to work for them either. It's human nature, however, for the best candidates to assume that they are worth more than the numbers they get when they ask HR what the salary range is. It's also human nature for the manager who wants to hire that person to do whatever it takes to bring them on board. That likely includes busting out a new pay grade for the hire, or changing the job specs in some way to make it completely legal. There are so many loopholes in this -- it's disgusting.

People will play these laws like a fiddle, and they will do absolutely nothing to limit the playing field except make the "bulk" of the applicants believe that negotiation no longer counts. When people stop negotiating, companies win -- not employees.

Laws like this remind me exactly of the government "Do not call list" law that was such a big deal a decade ago. It was going to stop your phone from ringing with needless marketing calls. Now, we get a half dozen a day -- why? Because it's a worthless regulation applied on a "who cares" marketplace. Same here . . . All the company wants is the best person available. They'll wiggle their way through new regulations and in five years it will be exactly like it is today . . . he who negotiates, wins. He who doesn't gets the booby prize, which in this case is a salary in the stated range.

Dave
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7863
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: New California law about asking salary history

Postby Rich Lemert » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:13 pm

Dave Jensen wrote:It's human nature, however, for the best candidates to assume that they are worth more than the numbers they get when they ask HR what the salary range is. It's also human nature for the manager who wants to hire that person to do whatever it takes to bring them on board. That likely includes busting out a new pay grade for the hire, or changing the job specs in some way to make it completely legal. There are so many loopholes in this -- it's disgusting.


So how does knowing one's current salary help this?

People will play these laws like a fiddle, and they will do absolutely nothing to limit the playing field except make the "bulk" of the applicants believe that negotiation no longer counts. When people stop negotiating, companies win -- not employees.


First, I don't see why this law is going to change the way people negotiate salaries. You've already said most people don't negotiate now, so what's going to change? And how does being forced to divulge your current salary help the situation? "Why do you think you're worth $105k when you're only making $80k now?"


After giving the matter some thought I wonder if we're actually arguing two different things, so let me ask you two questions:

1) Do you, or do you not, feel that one's current salary is irrelevant information in the hiring process?

2) Is your objection to the new law because it prevents you from asking for this information, or is it based solely on a general distaste for government regulations?

My comments in this discussion are based on my opinion that current salary is irrelevant when seeking a new position, and that the question is too often used to justify a low salary. (I believe I've already mentioned the "anchoring" effect.) It would be nice if we didn't have to codify things, but the law was not enacted in a vacuum.
Rich Lemert
Advisor
 
Posts: 2578
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: New California law about asking salary history

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:33 am

Rich,

You can ask about present comp all you want right now, and I don't think it makes much difference at all. My advice has always been that if you're a new grad or postdoc, you just share your present salary because everyone knows and expects what it might be anyway. More senior people should probably stay closer to the chest. But, no one should ever share salary "expectations." So that advice doesn't change -- except that employers can't ask the "what do you earn now" question.

I don't see anything in these rules prohibiting the company from asking "What are your compensation expectations?" -- In a typical scenario, the answer would be, "Well, what is the range?". . . then the company says "The range is $80K to $100K. What are your expectations (repeated)?" The best answer seems like mid-range, so you say "90K." And they interview you and offer you the job at $90K.

The above scenario will completely zap the negotiation process, and most people will be lulled into the "wait and get offer at mid-range" process.

In actuality, the company had a Research Scientist position advertised -- one that could easily be upgraded to a Senior Scientist position based on the candidate. The next person comes in they go through the same exchange. Expectations? No reply, but the question about range. Instead of replying with mid-range, this person decides to negotiate.

Out comes the Senior Scientist position and discussion resumes.

Yes, Rich, I think that regulations like this stink. This is only one of the many games I can think of that can be played to get around these new laws. Laws like this make sure that all sheep will be paid fairly. That's fine, but the sharks will still win.

As a young job seeker, I was a sheep, for sure. And I got sheared a couple of times because I didn't get the rules that guide the job seeking process. Thanks to forums and Internet media like this site, people can see how others have managed these discussions before them.

Dave
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7863
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Re: New California law about asking salary history

Postby D.X. » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:36 am

HI -

I'm reminded why I like Government Jobs. Salary linked to Job Level/grade is public, published and nearly non-negotiable. So you apply knowning basically what you're going to get and well Uncle Sam knows what they are able to pay, so its about the Knolwedge, Skills, and Experiences as the the Basis for application, selection, interview and offer.

Of course not applicable to Jobs where a civil service examination serves as the great equilizer for a Job with established, non-negotiable job-grade and salary. So at least you know the salary you get if you pass the exam and meet the selection score threshold for being called in.

So at least salary wise, well discussion is quite easy I guess. So anybody got a nice cushy Government Job where I can be considered Retired while on-Active Duty? (i.e. do nothing and get paid?) - US Post Office is my first choice.

Best,

Dx
D.X.
 
Posts: 1130
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:29 pm

Re: New California law about asking salary history

Postby Nate W. » Thu Oct 26, 2017 9:52 pm

D.X. wrote:basically what you're going to get and well Uncle Sam knows what

So at least salary wise, well discussion is quite easy I guess. So anybody got a nice cushy Government Job where I can be considered Retired while on-Active Duty? (i.e. do nothing and get paid?) - US Post Office is my first choice.


I agree with you on negotiating a salary with a federal government job. Remember, a US Post Office job might be hazardous to you health; the shooting by disgruntled postal workers in 90s.

Forum, does anyone have any experience negotiating employee tax status; 1099 vs W2 salaried employee?

Also, any experience or advice negotiating an equity stake in companies being formed with while working in private equity or VC?

1099 employees have a harder time to qualify for mortgages (regardless of income level); how I can minimize the risk or cost to the employer such that they would consider the change in tax status?

Glad to post this in another thread.
Nate W.
 
Posts: 483
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:48 pm

Previous

Return to Science Careers Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests