What Boston’s Salary History Ban Means for Technology Hiring Everywhere

Published on April 24th, 2018

In an effort to promote fairness and equal pay, salary history bans are spreading rapidly. It’s something hiring managers in Boston are well aware of, as the new law takes effect throughout Massachusetts on July 1st of this year. However, bans on asking applicants their previous salaries are something for businesses everywhere to consider, whether they operate in Boston, New York, California, or one of the many other locations approving similar legislature. Here’s why it matters to you, and how to successfully recruit in the technology industry despite it.

Preparation Must Begin Immediately

For all organizations, and especially those in Massachusetts, the time to prepare for this salary history ban is right now. Review your current recruiting process to identify steps that touch on previous salary. Train HR and all hiring managers, and anyone who might even remotely have contact with a candidate. Of course, applications and forms on paper and on websites will need revising, but there’s more to consider than just training and paperwork.

The penalty for violations varies by location, with some topping six figures for even an accidental violation. In Massachusetts, a violation can result in an intimidating class action lawsuit or pay discrimination claim. This law isn’t taken lightly, and there will inevitably be hiring managers who slip up out of habit and ask the question. Implementing changes as soon as possible allows for a buffer, so if someone in your organization accidentally asks about salary it will ideally happen before July and serve as a teaching moment rather than a true violation.

Understand Market Rate Offers

Previously, knowing a candidate’s salary history was sometimes seen as an advantage. For those inclined, if a candidate revealed a lower salary than expected, it shaped offers and seemed to allow the saving of thousands of dollars. But in reality, that was never an effective recruiting practice. Employees often find out what their peers make and are increasingly aware of what their salary should be for their role and location.

Most importantly, low offers simply don’t work in the competitive technology industry where talent is in very high demand. Not only do technologists know what they are worth on paper, but they are receiving strong offers from your competitors. Extending a low offer only serves to drive them into the arms of someone else, even if they have made a lower-than-average salary in the past. This is why understanding market rates is so important. Continued hiring success in the field requires finding reliable sources for technology salaries and forming offers accordingly.

Alternative Recruiting Methods

As salary offers become more uniform under salary history bans, there will be an increased importance on recruiting methods outside of compensation. Money is naturally an important consideration for candidates, but after a certain threshold (typically the market rate), job seekers make their decisions based on other factors. A Glassdoor survey of over 600,000 users found that culture is the workplace factor that matters most to employees, outranking compensation. At the same time, technologists want their next role to get them closer to their overall career goals. It should come as no surprise that 87% of Millennials rate professional development and career growth opportunities as very important. When salary becomes less of a focus, these aspects are essential to recruiting.

Simply put, job seekers want to work in a great environment with excellent work-life balance and career progression. Factors like PTO policies, telecommuting options, and access to cutting-edge technology make a big difference in attracting talent. Building an excellent culture and then showing it off at every opportunity is key. Since 79% of job seekers use social media channels in their job search, be sure to harness the power of LinkedIn and Facebook. Likewise, encourage employees to spread the word through review websites and employee referral programs so that they can become your brand ambassadors and a living example of what working for a great company looks like.

What Boston’s Salary History Ban Means for Technology Hiring Everywhere

The spreading salary history ban is the new normal for hiring managers looking to staff their technology roles. While it can be a challenge at first, turning recruiting efforts away from compensation and toward factors such as culture can be rewarding. However, it’s not easy to overhaul recruiting, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. For an easier, faster solution to hiring for your open technology positions, BridgeView IT can help.

Looking for top technologists who perfectly fit for your organization to be delivered quickly? Look no further.

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