Mum’s the Word on Pay in Mass

High five Massachusetts! I’m proud to say that I live in the first state to pass legislation that prohibits employers from requesting salary history during the interview process! With the passage of the Massachusetts Pay Equity Act, the state has taken a huge step towards gender pay equality in the workplace. Employees, particularly women and minorities, face enormous challenges when negotiating for raises, promotions and job offers. As employer’s move towards pay transparency, employees will be paid for their true value regardless of pay history. Our economy, our families, and our women will benefit.

Employees:  If you’re currently in the job market and interviewing for a new role, don’t share!  Although the legislation doesn’t take effect until 2018, let’s encourage our employers to start adopting changes early.   Here are three things you can say to deflect the dreaded “please share your salary history” request from a recruiter or hiring manager:

  1. Based on recent legislation passed in Massachusetts, I’m not comfortable sharing my salary history with the organization. I’d prefer to interview for the open position to see if there is mutual interest, and negotiate salary at the offer stage
  2. I’m happy to share my salary expectations for the role once I know more about the position; however it would be helpful to understand the approved salary range based on your budget. Can you share this with me?
  3. I’m not comfortable sharing my salary history. I’m looking to be paid fairly and competitively for the role for which I’m applying, based on market data and my expertise.  I’m really looking forward to learning more about the role and your company to determine if this is the right fit for my career.

Share your salary with your peers, not your employers.

CEO’s: Set strategic objectives and clear goals with your leadership team for 2017. Redefine your organization’s pay practice and prioritize pay equity. Implement changes to your recruitment and hiring strategies using benchmark data and update your job applications by removing salary history fields. Offer training to managers and recruiters on salary discussions and offer negotiations. Most importantly, work with HR to conduct an audit to understand if your organization has pay gaps that can be self-corrected and set goals for interventions.

If you’re looking for an employee retention strategy – this is it! Communicate to your current and future workforce that you are committed to paying fairly and equitably. Add your company to the growing list of firms that are proud to be taking action towards equal pay for equal work in Massachusetts.

As Lt. Governor Karyn Polito says, “This legislation is an important step toward advancing more equal, inclusive and thriving workplaces throughout the Commonwealth for women and families.” The health and growth of any company depends on its commitment to equal pay. Whatever state you are in, do your part to help close the gender wage gap. Follow in the footsteps of Massachusetts! Pay equity is good business – for everyone.