Your Stories

These stories bring home the real effects that salary history has on our lives

"I felt the sting of salary history when I was promoted internally for a new role. I researched the average salary for the new role and asked for an accompanying raise. My soon-to-be Line Manager actually agreed after much pushback but HR responded with a strong no. 

Their reason? It was too much of a jump from my current salary despite the fact that it was a totally different and senior role. 

I accepted the role for the moment but I just kept thinking, if a new external person joined the team it wouldn’t matter that we were doing a similar job - they would be earning more than me by default. Also, it is always said that women don’t negotiate hard enough but I did, I negotiated hard. But it felt completely futile when my current salary was used as a weapon against me. That’s when I knew I had to look for another job because as long as I stayed in this company, my salary could never move up significantly despite my job progression.

When I finally left, I found out that the new person who was taking over my role was going to be paid 20% more than me. Maybe he had been previously earning more than me. But I just kept thinking, if only they had just paid me what they were now willing to pay him, none of this would have needed to happen. I really enjoyed my job and my colleagues. It just that this episode left such a bad taste in my mouth. 

And this story is not unique to me. The salary we currently earn holds us ransom when employers keep asking this during the job application process. Share your story with us."

Shobaa Haridas

"A few months after I had joined a new company, some female colleagues told me that I was being underpaid. They revealed that some male colleagues in my team or similar teams were earning 20-30% more than me with the same level of experience. 

I approached my bosses to discuss this but they kept putting me off. So I decided to get advice from another senior leader in the company who had some level of responsibility towards newcomers. 

We went into a meeting room to chat and it soon became clear that his only role was to prove my claims wrong. He made various vague claims without actually producing any statistics, names or titles. When I took notes, he told me not to write anything down as all this was confidential. He then proceeded to ask me what my previous salary was. I didn’t want to tell him but was caught off-guard and felt pressured in the moment to let him know. He remarked that I had actually got a huge bump between the two salaries (the implication being that I should be grateful and shouldn’t ask for more). 

I returned to my desk, furious. I felt so belittled and steamrolled. 

With the Gender Pay Gap reporting, my company reported a 25% gender pay gap in my company. So there is a chance that I am being underpaid. I realise that unless I move jobs, I am unlikely to get a pay rise."

KS, Journalist

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