Salary History Law Adds Hurdle to Law Firm Hiring

, The Legal Intelligencer


With the city poised to bar employers from asking about job applicants' salary history, Philadelphia's business community is preparing for guessing games. But legal recruiters in the city are sure of one thing—their jobs are about to be more challenging.

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  • kuratka

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  • Tony Volpe

    The argument against non-disclosure flies in the face of the market forces argument. If the market is determining the employee‘s value, the history is irrelevant. On the other hand, using historical salary numbers has the tendency to depress women and minorities when they add new skill desired by the market but their salary offer is depressed by their history. The market does not need it and it creates an unfair bargaining position.

  • Mike O‘Horo

    The idea that you need to know someone‘s previous salary is the weakest argument imaginable. There‘s a market price for certain skills, experience, and capability. Whether or not a previous employer paid more or less than that is immaterial. It‘s the lazy way to assess a person‘s value and initiate salary negotiation. The correct salary is what a willing buyer and a willing seller agree on. As for recruiters‘ claims that they need this info, that‘s even sillier. As a recruiter, if you‘re any good at all, you‘re in the unique position of having information about what the talent buyers want to pay and what the talent sellers expect to be paid. Once the employer says, "We want to make an offer," you make the recruit‘s case as to why he‘s worth what he‘s asking. The employer will offer his "Yeah, but" counterarguments, which you share with the recruit. This isn‘t complicated. Good recruiters know how to establish an upper-limit salary that, if offered, they can accept on the spot on behalf of a candidate, and a lower-limit salary below which they can decline the offer on behalf of a candidate without discussion. If you don‘t know how to get those two things reliably, you don‘t know how to get the deal under control, and you should do something else for a living.

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