Inappropriate salary discussions

Are you having inappropriate salary discussions with recruiters and employers? Or rather, are recruiters and employers having inappropriate salary conversations with you?

One salary-related tweet has generated a big reaction. Someone attempted to headhunt a tech professional for a role with a salary that’s £25,000 below her current rate. The reason? Apparently the company could train her and her new reduced salary would be ‘more aligned with her age!’

Thankfully, she was savvy enough to decline the offer. However, as a result of the conversation, she reports finding herself ‘second-guessing her abilities’.

Stylist Magazine has shared this tweet along with some of the issues raised by other commentators. We’ll discuss some of these issues today…

Being contacted for roles that are beneath your salary level…

Be wary of anyone suggesting that you’re not worth your current rate for any reason. There may naturally be times an employer can’t match your current rate. This is a completely separate issue and the conversation should come from that angle and in no way try to belittle you or your achievements.

If the opportunity offers something more attractive than salary alone, it’s then your choice as to whether this is a good option for you.

Most trusted recruitment agencies will establish your salary intentions early on in your career discussions and ensure to contact you about suitable roles. If you’re regularly contacted about positions that in no way meet any of the requirements you’ve discussed, you may want to seek out some alternative support. The REC directory is a great help here.

Your age is cropping up in your salary discussions…

While employers are entitled to confirm you’re over 18 for certain roles, such as for the sale of alcohol, your age shouldn’t feature in your recruitment discussions. This is in order to avoid age discrimination in the workplace.

Your age certainly has no bearing on your salary (outside of the context of making sure you’re earning at least the minimum wage). Therefore, there’s no need to put your age or date of birth on your CV…or your public social media feeds!

Never feel obliged to respond to these conversations – there will be better opportunities and far more ethical employers out there for you.

Your partner is brought into the mix…

One tweeter was told that due to her prettiness she must have a boyfriend ‘who treats her to nice things.’ In other words, why does she need a high salary when she’s so attractive? This conversation is problematic on multiple counts.

The first, flirtatious comments on physical beauty can fall under the bracket of sexual harassment in the workplace.

What’s more, interviewers shouldn’t delve into your relationship status in case it biases their decision-making process. Choosing not to hire you based on your sexuality is another form of discrimination.

Finally, there’s the general unprofessionalism that comes with such a statement. Why should your relationship status influence your salary in any way?

Why employers don’t always detail salaries on their job advertisements…

This is an interesting topic. One commentator asked, ‘how do I know if I’m interested in the job if I don’t know that I can afford to pay my bills if I take it?’ It’s clearly a valid question! However, there’s usually a good reason an employer hasn’t detailed a salary level in their initial job advertisement.

In many cases, the salary range has yet to be finalised or is so broad that it will truly depend on the work experience and expectations of the applicants. Meaning they may be open to people from lower or higher salaries and will shape the final role accordingly. Contrary to popular belief, it’s rarely the case that an employer is specifically looking for the cheapest option.

Spotted such a job on a recruitment agency website? You should always feel able to call and gauge the situation before making any applications.

You can also find clues within job advertisements: take a look at the job description and individual requirements. Does it sound like you’ll be dropping many of your responsibilities or taking a huge leap up the ladder? Your industry experience will probably tell you a thing or two about the going rates in your field.

The more often you read local job specs, the better you’ll be able to predict salary offerings! Finally, don’t forget to speak with your Recruitment Consultant regarding any related concerns. 



Forced into side hustles

Why do employees opt to work in so-called side hustles? Is it by choice or is there something else forcing their decisions?

If you read our recent salary news roundup, you’ll know that more than 1/2 of professionals are finding it difficult to meet their financial needs on a monthly basis.

So, it’s of little wonder that the majority of people who undertake side jobs are motivated by the chance to earn more money.

The top motivations for side hustles are:

  1. To increase income (59.9%)
  2. For personal enjoyment (14.1%)
  3. To ‘improve a hobby’ (10.4%)
  4. For better job security (9.4%)
  5. Or to enter a new career (6.3%)

The fact that 67.7% of respondents could be willing to stop their side jobs if their employer increased their salary adds further proof of their financial incentive.

That said, the remaining 1/3 of respondents intend to eventually turn their side gig into their career role.

Should employees and/or their employers be concerned?

There are important considerations for all parties…

  • As the Onrec post suggests, employees should have a good look at their employment contracts before embarking on any side jobs. Many businesses place restrictions on work that can be completed out of office hours.
  • Naturally, employers need to promote productivity and will be concerned if their team members turn up unreasonably tired or distracted. There’s also the chance of competitive overlaps and even public relation problems.
  • Yet, as the piece also mentions, businesses need to do more to attract and retain their employees; particularly in a time of continued skills shortage. Where possible, increased salaries can help professionals to better balance their work and home needs.
  • Business leaders can consult their recruitment agencies for more guidance on achieving competitive and attractive salary packages. We’re delighted to assist local employers with their recruitment enquiries – please call the office on 01225 313130 for more information.
  • Employees who feel overwhelmed with balancing extra work alongside their careers should consider whether their day job is the right role for them. If they’re not able to negotiate a salary increase, they may find their earning potential is greater in a new role. Regularly reviewing local job opportunities can help you to gauge your salary potential.


Is your salary the most important factor?

Investigating whether your salary is the most important of all the job benefits. What else appeals to today’s job-seekers and what’s so important about this research?

Let’s start with the importance of this topic. As we mentioned in our last post, job vacancy numbers have reached an all-time high. This means that each employer has to work all the harder to impress suitable applicants.

This also means that there are regular surveys to ascertain which factors are most likely to attract a candidate into a new role. Surveys such as the one behind the ‘Attracting the Right Talent – Meeting Demands through the Job Offering Report.’

Salary isn’t (necessarily!) the most important factor…

  • At present, just over 1/3 of the nation’s professionals say their ‘career expectations are not being met’. They most prioritise…
  • Working for an employer that ‘values you’ (25%)
  • The opportunity to gain experience (17%)
  • Creating a strong work-life balance (18%)
  • And developing personal technical skills and abilities (11%)

Those that had worked for their employer for more than five years were even more likely to rate feeling valued and work-life balance as most important.

Alongside this, 60% of people prioritise the chance to develop their career within their job role.

You’ll see salary is yet to be mentioned. However, there is some regional variation here. In the South, workers are more likely to prioritise the career and lifestyle factors mentioned. Whereas the majority of professionals in the North East and Midlands valued their salary above all else.

There’s also some sector difference. The banking and financial services industry was the only sector that specifically regarded a pay rise as their primary career priority.

The report says there’s been a marked shift in attitudes due to the ‘millennial impact’. This group of workers is placing greater importance on lifestyle elements beyond pay rates.

What does this all mean?

We can see that attitudes are changing. However, it’s not long ago we heard that the UK is more salary-minded than any other European country and that 62% of people primarily work for this reason.

It’s worth considering the research as a whole. Salaries are incredibly important to many workers, yet there are also plenty of other factors that are relevant to job searching…and the acceptance of job offers.

  • As a candidate: it’s useful to consider your own priorities. What matters most in your career right now? Be sure to let your Recruitment Consultant know what you’re looking for. You can include some of this information right from your first email to your agency.
  • As an employer: take a look at your employee attraction offering. Are you making your team feel valued, do you help to create a positive work-life balance, and are you ensuring your staff receives regular skills development? What’s more, are you communicating these messages in your job advertisements? This post will help you to sharpen your employee attraction strategy.

For specialist recruitment support, please call the office on 01225 313130. Further details are available on our Contact page