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. 



A promotion without a pay rise?

Would you accept a promotion without a pay rise? Professionals in certain sectors are more likely to do this…

This is the first in our Vanquis Bank ‘Professional Gripes Survey’ series. The survey is a nationwide office study exploring ‘what makes UK workers tick and what ticks them off!’

For many people, the whole purpose of a promotion is that it allows them to step up the career ladder and increase their salary in the process.

Yet what if you were offered the bigger job title without the bigger salary?

  • 20.5% of British employees would definitely say yes to this.
  • 36.6% are sure they’d say no.
  • However, the largest group at 42.9%, would take the time to consider this offer further.

Professionals in certain job sectors are more likely to jump in with a definite yes. These include those working within:

  1. Marketing (58%)
  2. Agriculture & Environment (46%)
  3. Beauty & Wellbeing (44%)
  4. Art & Design (39%)
  5. IT & Digital Telecoms (29%)
  6. Media (24%)
  7. Construction (22%)
  8. Customer Services & Retail (20%)
  9. Science & Mathematics (20%)
  10. Security & Emergency Services (20%)

At the other end of the scale, only 11% of people working in legal or political services and 9% of those in hospitality would respond with a yes.

So, why would you accept a promotion without a pay rise?

This is perhaps the most interesting of all the questions. Not to mention the most important for anyone considering making or accepting such an offer.

  • The greatest incentive is the belief that this will help ‘secure a better job in the future’ (68.6%). Other responses included…
  • To have a greater ‘authority over colleagues’ (23.1%)
  • And to impress a ‘date or loved one’ (9.9%).

Perhaps this is why those in Marketing are so much more likely to say yes than other industry professionals – they understand the power of perception that the new job title can offer.

How are employees achieving their promotions?

This is where things get really worrying. While most respondents simply accept additional work in a bid to impress their seniors (32.5%), others are taking far less honourable routes, including…

  • Complimenting senior colleagues and/or bosses (25.1%)
  • And even flirting with them (12.9%) or wearing suggestive clothing (11.10%), which makes for alarming reading in a post-#MeToo world.
  • What’s more, some have admitted to sabotaging their closest working rivals (10%), bribery (9.6%) and blackmail (9.6%).

Across all categories, male employees were more likely to push for a promotion.

Of course, this is a national study conducted across a real range of sectors. Meaning the findings may not reflect what’s happening locally and/or in your industry.

Thankfully, the vast majority of people know that good quality work is the best way to garner a promotion.

Should you consider a promotion without a pay rise?

In some cases, this can be a savvy move when considering your longer-term job prospects. There’s certainly some truth behind the idea that a better job title can improve your future job opportunities.

Previous findings suggest that job titles do matter and can form a core part of your benefits package.

Naturally, you also need to consider your financial situation. If the improved job title comes with a salary cut, or you know that you’re unable to commit to the new role for a reasonable time, you’d be wise to rethink things.

It’s also worth staying on top of your local research. See how much other employers are paying for people in your prospective new role. You may find that you can negotiate a slight pay rise or that there are alternative opportunities that offer promotions in both job title and salary level.