Money Talks: Should You Share Your Current Salary?
We’ve all been there, feeling awkward, hesitating and not quite knowing whether that’s something you really want to share.
It’s a topic that would make some people feel anxious and nervous discussing even with their friends. Now, someone you’ve spoken to a handful of times, at most, has brought it up.
“What are you earning in your current role?”
Some US states have even outlawed the asking of the question in a bid to encourage pay equity and stop salaries being dictated by previous ones. UK candidates don’t have the same protection though.
Why are you asked?
To gauge your market value
Do you remember the last time you grabbed a real bargain?
Last week I found a 100% Merino Wool jumper for £20 in TK Maxx. I was dead pleased with myself when I got home and showed it to my partner. No, she didn’t share my excitement.
You can imagine my horror when it shrunk after the second wash, but I maintain it was a bargain.
We all love to feel that we’ve got a good deal. It gives you a feeling of real achievement and a sense that you’re winning.
The difficulty is that people don’t normally walk around with little labels indicating what you should expect to pay to hire them. It’s much harder to gauge.
Often when recruiters/employers ask, it’s to try to better understand your value and ensure that they’re not going to pay over the odds by offering way over the value a previous employer has placed on you.
They’re essentially applying the notion of something being “worth what someone is willing to pay for it” to hiring people.
To ensure your expectation is realistic
Sometimes, you may be asked about your current salary to make sure you’re in the right ballpark. The last thing anyone involved wants is to end the process with an offer way below what you’re looking for.
In the same vein, a good recruiter might ask about your current salary to understand your current position better. If, after speaking to you to understand your experience, education and personality, they feel you’re underpaid, they should explain that your expectation should be higher.
Either way, by asking about your current salary, they can make sure that going through the process isn’t going to be a waste of your time.
Should you share?
Whether or not you opt to share your current salary is a personal choice, but if you’re unsure I’d recommend you provide a salary range that you’d be comfortable with rather than your exact salary.
If you’re dealing with a recruiter that you trust, perhaps consider sharing your current salary on the basis it remains confidential and is not shared with any potential employers without permission.
Ultimately, your value as an employee is subjective. It’s up to the recruiter and/or employer to decide what your skills, experience and personality are worth to them.