Insights & Blog

Salary Bias

Posted on
June 21, 2022
Posted by
Alistair Brownlee

We live in an age of Diversity – no, not Ashley Banjo’s dance group. Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion in the workplace!

Let’s face it, in most industries it is well overdue that the focus should shift to hiring from a more diverse talent pool than the usual middle class white males that we all too often see, especially in the world of Financial Services where the evidence suggests that even at the most basic level, gender split, our latest Salary and Benefits Census reports that the industry is only 21% female.

It’s hard to know why we have such an issue, but what is clear is that the problem often starts when the CV lands on the desk.

There has been tons of research done on this from all over the world, and the conclusions are pretty damning: gender bias, ethnic bias, age bias, class bias and salary bias all prevalent in the various research studies carried out.

You might ask how two identical candidates in every aspect apart from gender could be treated differently? Why job applicants with Asian sounding names be less likely to be invited for interview compared to applicants with English sounding names? Or why older candidates are far less likely to be hired than a younger candidate? They all are.

Whilst the above are all serious issues, our subject here is removing salary bias. The evidence is so clear that as of Jan 2021, it is now illegal to ask for current and historic salary details from candidates who are applying for jobs in nineteen US states. Historically in the recruitment sector we are c.10 years behind the US, so the question is, should we be following their lead?

As just one business operating in the sector, we have very recent examples of how not disclosing current salary for candidates can have a positive impact on the salaries offered and ultimately accepted. Why should current salary be used to determine the offer, surely it is experience, skill level, attitude and personality that counts, and that is what the prospective employer is buying in to, if they think a person can do the job then that should come with a salary to match.

As a firm who places a high importance on DE&I, we are seeing more firms who are either piloting or considering removing salaries from CVs or applications, but what will it take for this to become the norm?

I would be very interested to know what you think. We are asking talent, HR and hiring leaders to complete a brief questionnaire to help us look at ways to debias the recruitment process. Please follow this link to take part.

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BWD Financial Services Earnings & Benefits Census 2021/22

This BWD Census is designed to be the definitive reference guide to salaries, earnings, and benefits in the UK financial services sector.

It is carried out entirely independently of any FS employer and embraces Advisers, BDMs, Paraplanners, and Compliance Professionals. Information was gathered from over 550 individuals via an online, confidential questionnaire issued in December 2021 and January 2022.                       

BWD Salary and Benefits Census
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